Dish Holding Discussions for Wireless Chips, Network Gear and Handsets

Dish Network (NAS: DISH) has had discussions with various companies to deliver chipsets, network equipment and handsets for its proposed LTE-Advanced network, according to a filing the company made with the FCC.

The disclosure was made in an ex-parte filing describing a meeting Dish executives held with FCC officials Dec. 13 to discuss Dish's proposed acquisition of 40 MHz of S-band 2 GHz spectrum from TerreStar Networks and DBSD North America. In conjunction with the spectrum license transfer, Dish wants the FCC to waive its Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) "integrated service" rule, and permit Dish to provide both dual-mode devices and single-mode terrestrial devices to customers who do not want the satellite function.

"Without the waivers, it is highly uncertain that Dish could commence wide-scale design and construction efforts for a terrestrial network, and it is certain that any design and construction activities that may be undertaken would have to proceed at a significantly slower pace," Dish said in the filing. "Indeed, Dish has been in discussions with potential chipset, network equipment, and handset manufacturers, but it would be inefficient and wasteful to undertake development activities for the MSS/ATC network until all requirements (including support for single- and dual-mode devices) are finalized."

A Dish spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the nature or scope of the discussions the company has had with vendors. While it is not that unusual for a company planning a wireless network to engage in such discussions, they point to the seriousness with which Dish appears to be pursuing its wireless venture.

Dish could forge a wireless partnership with T-Mobile USA if AT&T's (NYS: T) proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile falls apart, according to comments Dish CEO Joseph Clayton made to Bloomberg. Interestingly, Clayton also said that Dish could partner with Sprint Nextel (NYS: S) , which recently gave its assent to Dish's plans to acquire 40 MHz of S-band satellite spectrum in the 2 GHz band.

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