Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), the second-largest satellite network provider in the United States has emerged as the surprise winner in the auction of the AWS-3 spectrum. The auction had generated about $45 billion for the government and generated massive bids from At&T and other wireless carriers.
Dish has jointly bid with several partners like Blackrock which invested $13,3 billion, which also qualified for the FCC credits lowering the payment to $10 billion. AT&T was the next highest bidder with $18.2 billion and Verizon emerged as third highest bidder with $10.4 billion as the company seeks to improve its wireless networks.
However, Dish already has enough unused spectrum and the additional spectrum is also likely to add-on to the existing spectrum. Wireless carriers did not expect competition from the company which does not have any wireless network while the leading carriers own 70 percent of the network shares and need to keep up with consumer demand.
“Everyone wants to know whether Dish was bidding to win or just bidding to raise prices,” said Craig Moffer, equities analyst in a note to researchers on January 15.
Dish Network chairman, Charlie Ergen does have plans to venture into the wireless network as the company has been adding more than 45 megahertz of spectrum in the recent years through various auctions and deals. In 2013, the company did try to acquire Sprint, which and lost to Softbank and did not take any major move to venture into the wireless market.
However, the company will have a limit to keep a hold on the unused spectrum and will need to auction it. Dish’s bidding made sure it won 700 licenses out of the 1,600 in the auction and beat Verizon in demand-rich markets like Chicago, New York and Boston.
Dish stated that the auction was a big win for the FCC, the American Taxpayer, public safety community and small business. In 2016, a major auction for 600MHz tv spectrum band will see more aggressive bidders including Sprint.[ Via ]