| March 2
March 2 The Federal Communications
Commission said on Friday it was delaying its decision on
whether Dish Network Corp can build a wireless cellular
network, a move that could hurt the value of the satellite
television company's newly acquired wireless assets.
Dish shares fell more than 3 percent in after market
Dish was seeking a waiver of its license to allow it to
build a purely terrestrial network, rather than one that
combines both satellite and terrestrial service.
While the regulator said on Friday it had approved Dish's
license to acquire more than $3 billion worth of wireless
spectrum, an FCC spokesman said that a "rulemaking process will
best serve the public interest and maximize the long-term value
of the spectrum for the American economy."
Two sources close to the matter said that a decision on
whether Dish can use its wireless spectrum to build a cellular
network will be made by the end of the year.
Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said on a conference call in
late February that if Dish was not granted a waiver, or if there
was a delay, it may have to look at alternatives with its
wireless assets, including writing down their value.
Dish did not immediately reply to a request for comment late
An FCC rulemaking could be lengthy process that involves the
agency issuing proposed rules, collecting comments and then
issuing a final rule based on the commission's vote.
Dish has spent more than $3 billion on wireless spectrum it
bought from DBSD and Terrestar last year. The second-largest
satellite TV provider in the United States is seeking to
diversify its business beyond pay TV.
Dish CEO Joe Clayton has previously said the company could
build a wireless network on its own or find a partner.
Analysts have said that Dish's spectrum could be an
acquisition target for AT&T if Dish had gained the
The delay of the waiver calls into question that plan and
how much its spectrum is worth. Cellular service is much more
valuable than satellite services, which are costly and used by
Dish Network shares fell 3.5 percent to $28.25 per share in
extended trade on Friday, after closing 1.7 percent higher at
$29.27 in regular trade.