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Thread: AT&T's Band 29 deployment sets up potential spectrum deal with Dish

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    AT&T's Band 29 deployment sets up potential spectrum deal with Dish

    http://www.fiercewireless.com/wirele...al-dish-piecyk

    AT&T is quietly deploying a 10 MHz block of 700 MHz spectrum in New York and other markets, according to Walter Piecyk of BTIG Research. And that could position it to swing a spectrum deal that would benefit Dish Network.

    The deployment is being used for increased capacity and faster data speeds, supplementing AT&T’s PCS and WCS spectrum. It’s a combination of two adjacent 6 MHz blocks of spectrum D and E, Piecyk noted in a blog post. AT&T owns both blocks in some markets, covering one-fourth of the population in some of the nation’s biggest cities.
    AT&T owns only one of two 6 MHz blocks covering the remaining 75% of the country, however, and that spectrum “has far less usability,” according to Piecyk, who based his analysis on data from Milan Milanovic of Cellular Insights. And Dish owns the adjacent block in nearly all those markets, which sets up a potential spectrum swap that would help both companies.

    “There could be an opportunity for Dish to sell or swap its Band 29 spectrum with AT&T. We value Dish’s Band 29 spectrum at $969 million, after tax,” Piecyk wrote. “Dish’s Band 29 spectrum has unique value to AT&T, which can combine it with its Band 29 spectrum for immediate use. Band 29 has been in iPhones since 2014 with the introduction of the iPhone 6/6+, so the immediate benefit to AT&T is even greater than Band 66. Therefore, AT&T could clearly assign a higher value than $.85/MHz/POP to this spectrum.”

    In return for Dish’s Band 29 airwaves, AT&T could offer the 600 MHz spectrum it picked up during the incentive auction that closed earlier this year. AT&T has more low-band spectrum than any other U.S. carrier, according to Allnet Insights & Analytics, and it may be interested in offloading its new airwaves in favor of spectrum it could deploy sooner to boost capacity in some key markets.

    “The spectrum AT&T just won in the broadcast incentive auction has similar value to Dish’s Band 29 spectrum. In addition, it’s unclear if AT&T actually wanted to buy that spectrum given the low activity in later rounds of the incentive auction,” Piecyk wrote. “All 23 licenses that AT&T acquired are in markets where Dish also acquired licenses, so a combination would provide increased spectrum density in a number of markets including San Francisco, Philly, D.C., and Dallas.”
    “The Internet wasn’t meant to be metered in bits and bytes, so it’s insane that wireless companies are still making you buy it this way. The rate plan is dead — it’s a fossil from a time when wireless was metered by every call or text.” John Legere 1/5/2017

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    Interesting. My sense is DISH would want to just sell it, as they seem to just squat on spectrum. Flip side is, AT&T is their archrival on the TV side, so that's kind of awkward, but we've seen spectrum sales and swaps between cellular carriers, so it's certainly not unheard of.
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    Wasn't the government going to give them holy hell soon if Dish didn't start doing something with their spectrum holdings? Do they do anything with the spectrum besides making sure no one else gets to use it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeatherPilot View Post
    Wasn't the government going to give them holy hell soon if Dish didn't start doing something with their spectrum holdings? Do they do anything with the spectrum besides making sure no one else gets to use it?
    I think they're running close to the end of their build-out timeframe, and AFAIK, they have done absolutely nothing with it. AT&T could light it up quicker than anyone else, so a lease or sale would make sense.

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    Why does Dish own spectrum? Were they going to start a wireless service at one time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copa360 View Post
    Why does Dish own spectrum? Were they going to start a wireless service at one time?
    Dish owns a ton of spectrum. And I’m not sure.








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    Quote Originally Posted by WeatherPilot View Post
    Wasn't the government going to give them holy hell soon if Dish didn't start doing something with their spectrum holdings?
    Not with this administration. That would be “business hostile” and we can’t have that happening.

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    There are build-out requirements that they hit at some point, and DISH can't build the network on their own. I just don't see what they're doing with all that spectrum, unless they're trying to buy their way into having a wireless partner. Some analysts see a DISH-Amazon partnership, which makes no sense to me.

    Verizon would be the most logical partner, since Verizon is facing a spectrum crunch, although a lot of the spectrum that DISH owns isn't in phones yet. B29, while more logical for AT&T, could be fairly quickly implemented by Verizon, as their iPhones and the Pixel phones already support it. AWS-4/Band 70 would take another year to get in anything, although those holdings plus B71/600mhz could be implemented in devices next year. If they could squeak through the next year with densification, the additional spectrum would make all those new sites that much more valuable over time. Verizon could bundle home internet service with Verizon Wireless and DISH network to go up against AT&T-DirecTV in rural areas, and their largely NYC-market centric FiOS doesn't really compete with DISH that much, which technically operates, but lacks a lot of sports channels in the metro NY area, making it irrelevant in that market.

    If anyone wants to buy a cellular carrier, Sprint is the most logical option, since they are a mess. If Amazon or Google or someone else wanted to get into wireless, Sprint is a turnkey option, and with a lot of cash, they have the spectrum licenses to expand drastically, but they would have no use for DISH's spectrum, as they already have a boatload of spectrum that's largely underutilized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSMinCT View Post
    There are build-out requirements that they hit at some point, and DISH can't build the network on their own. I just don't see what they're doing with all that spectrum, unless they're trying to buy their way into having a wireless partner. Some analysts see a DISH-Amazon partnership, which makes no sense to me.

    Verizon would be the most logical partner, since Verizon is facing a spectrum crunch, although a lot of the spectrum that DISH owns isn't in phones yet. B29, while more logical for AT&T, could be fairly quickly implemented by Verizon, as their iPhones and the Pixel phones already support it. AWS-4/Band 70 would take another year to get in anything, although those holdings plus B71/600mhz could be implemented in devices next year. If they could squeak through the next year with densification, the additional spectrum would make all those new sites that much more valuable over time. Verizon could bundle home internet service with Verizon Wireless and DISH network to go up against AT&T-DirecTV in rural areas, and their largely NYC-market centric FiOS doesn't really compete with DISH that much, which technically operates, but lacks a lot of sports channels in the metro NY area, making it irrelevant in that market.

    If anyone wants to buy a cellular carrier, Sprint is the most logical option, since they are a mess. If Amazon or Google or someone else wanted to get into wireless, Sprint is a turnkey option, and with a lot of cash, they have the spectrum licenses to expand drastically, but they would have no use for DISH's spectrum, as they already have a boatload of spectrum that's largely underutilized.
    As an owner of an IPad mini 4 on AT&T, band 29 is a major deal to me. Low band 700 spectrum has good in building characteristics and band 29 being activated is very helpful to keep good coverage as well as data speeds higher.

    AT&T should definitely be allowed to acquire the unused band 29 spectrum so they can improve speeds further and to compete more effectively against Verizon Wireless.

    As for Sprint and T-Mobile merging, I believe that would be anticompetitive for the industry. However, Dish can merge with Sprint or T-Mobile and sell or trade their spectrum.

    The media is hyping a Sprint and T-Mobile merger but I doubt that will be allowed to happen as they compete as national carriers in the wireless industry. When Charter Communications merged with Brighthouse and Time Warner it made for a worse company however the markets did not compete against each other. They just merged existing incumbent providers as many markets have competition from other cable companies such as over builders and open video system providers as well as telecommunications firms like Verizon or AT&T or others.

    MetroPCS was a carrier not going anywhere with poor scale of coverage and wasting precious bandwidth which the T-Mobile merger was able to unlock with national coverage. Sprint however has a large scale of towers unlike MetroPCS on a more national scale and helps keep price competition in check with the market.

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