updated 10:25 pm EST, Fri February 3, 2012
FCC may intervene on Dish, AT&T stoush
Dish is facing opposition from AT&T on its plans to develop a 4G LTE-Advanced mobile broadband network to complement its existing satellite TV and other services. It has petitioned the FCC on the matter, arguing that AT&T is pushing for an ‘overly aggressive and unrealistic schedule’ for its suggested build-out time frames. Dish argues that such conditions would ‘set Dish up for failure or force Dish into unfavorable business arrangements.’
Dish, which has been in the process of buying wireless spectrum, has plans to rollout out a 4G network in the 2GHz band. It would build this network from the ground up and offer it directly to its own customers, rather than wholesale to other customers. Dish had previously indicated that it might have joined forces with either AT&T or T-Mobile with its plans on the collapse of their merger. However, that arrangement now could be off the table with AT&T seeing the development of the proposed Dish network as a competitive threat.
AT&T has proposed that Dish be subject to the same build out timeframes that were imposed upon LightSquared. This would force Dish to cover 100 million users within 33 months initially, and then up to 260 million users within 60 months. However, Dish argues that the LightSquared approach was different as it did plan on utilizing its own network for mobile sales, but rather simply wholesale it to others. Dish would face a number of potential difficulties if the same time frame was imposed upon them, not least of which would be having handsets available on the market that could support the next implementation of the LTE technology.
As no other carrier is in a position to launch LTE-Advanced network capabilities until sometime in 2013, it appears that AT&T is either attempting to stall Dish’s attempts, or force Dish into partnering with an other carrier on its proposed rollout, namely AT&T itself.
For its part, the FCC has not indicated its stance on the issue at this time. [via The Verge]