Dish Network Sees Wireless As Better Way To Compete Against Rivals
February 12, 2013

Dish Network Sees Wireless As Better Way To Compete Against Rivals

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Dish Network´s chairman took center stage last evening at the All Things D: Dive Into Media conference in California and spoke rather candidly about his thoughts on advertising, the mass of Blockbuster stores his company now owns, and his plans to get into the wireless market.

Dish has been making a recent push towards wireless, picking up spectrum where they can and working with the FCC to get permission to operate a wireless network in addition to their satellite television business.

Last December, Julius Genachowski and the FCC approved Dish´s plans to operate a wireless network within a set band of spectrum, though at a lower power than their competitors. While Dish was busying themselves with picking up this spectrum, they had yet to make clear what they planned to do with it.

“First and foremost, we are a video company,” explained Ergen during his All Things D interview in Dana Point, California.

Ergen mentioned his company plans to deliver video to its customers inside and outside of the home, and once they realized networks simply convert video and voice into plain data, they realized they could do the same.

As latecomers to the wireless game, Ergen also said his company has lots of catching up to do in order to create their own network.

Instead, Ergen said it would be more prudent for his company to work with a partner who already has the licenses and is operating in the market. This is why Dish has been looking to swoop in and purchase Clearwire Corp before Sprint picks them up first.

Sprint is already the majority owner of Clearwire and has been offering a buyout of $2.97 per share. Sprint´s offer still rests on the table of Clearwire´s board for approval.

Dish´s offer of $3.30 a share, however, is hard to ignore, and though it appears they´d rather sell to Sprint, they´re still considering Dish´s offer.

“We want to compete against both the cable guys and the wireless guys, and we want to do it inside the house and outside the house, and that´s why we think we need wireless spectrum,” said Ergen during Monday evening´s interview.

“We´d like to own a wireless network so we can give you a quality of service,”Ergen said. “Ideally, we´d compete against the AT&Ts and Verizons. To do that, we´d need more spectrum.”

Dish doesn´t see their role in the ongoing spectrum grab as a waste of time, either. Even if they aren´t able to roll out a service capable of delivering video both inside and outside of the home, they could still find themselves in possession of plenty of spectrum, a rare commodity these days, as companies like AT&T and Verizon are willing to pay big money to get their hands on it.

Should their plans go awry, Ergen said his company has “billions of dollars of spectrum” at their disposal.

If unable to partner with an existing provider, “we would admit we failed and try a new approach,” Ergen said, speaking to Bloomberg. “We would hang a ℠for sale´ sign on the spectrum.”