By Sinead Carew
LAS VEGAS Jan 7 Dish Network Chairman
Charlie Ergen said on Monday it could take months to finalize
his plans to enter the wireless industry because of regulatory
and technology complications, but his company has no intention
of selling spectrum it spent billions acquiring.
The cable service provider received regulatory approval to
use its spectrum for wireless services in December. But Dish has
still not made clear whether it will build a wireless network on
its own, or offer a service in partnership with other companies.
"We have multiple options," Ergen told Reuters after a press
conference on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show.
While he would not say whether Dish would prefer to build
its own network or enter a partnership, the executive was
adamant he does not want to sell the spectrum - something some
analysts had speculated might bring in a handsome profit for
"We don't want to sell the spectrum," he said. "We'd prefer
to be in the wireless broadband business and make a difference
Ergen said in November that he hoped to be able to announce
his wireless plans about a month after the Federal
Communications Commission ruled on the spectrum.
But the decision process was complicated by technology
restrictions included in the FCC's ruling, and because of merger
deals announced separately by potential partners, Sprint Nextel
Corp and T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG
Sprint is seeking approval to sell 70 percent of its shares
to Japan's Softbank Corp. T-Mobile USA is looking for
approval for a merger with smaller wireless rival MetroPCS
"Their regulatory issues aren't settled as well," Ergen said
On the technology side, Ergen said Dish still has to work
out details with the main global wireless standards-setting
organizations before it can start to build its network.
"It's months, but hopefully its not years," Ergen said.
In the meantime, the company will work with its vendors on
designing its network, he said.