T-Mobile tells court not to give Dish extension to buy its 800MHz spectrum

If you’ve been following the story, you know that Dish Network has an option to purchase 800MHz low-band spectrum from T-Mobile. The latter was told by the FCC to get rid of the spectrum in exchange for regulatory approval of the carrier’s merger with Sprint. Most of the low-band spectrum used by T-Mobile is the 600 MHz airwaves spread across the country for its national 5G network. This is because the low band spectrum travels longer distances than the mid or high band spectrum, although it offers slower download speeds than the other bands.

Other companies besides Dish are interested in T-Mobile’s 800 MHz spectrum

And now it seems there is another player in this game. According to Fierce Wireless, a research report from New Street Research (NSR) says engineering and consulting firm Burns & McDonnell (B&M) has asked the court to join the proceeding involving Dish. NSR still expects the court to grant Dish the requested additional time. Analyst Blair Levin told clients that B&M likely represents the interests of a group of electric utility companies that use the spectrum. Many are also customers of B&M.

Levin also noted that the utilities are working with Anterix; this is the company that claims to be the largest licensee in the 900MHz band. The president is Nextel co-founder Morgan O’Brien. The telecommunications services company’s current holdings, which provide private broadband to public utilities, do not include any national spectrum. Consequently, Anterix may also be interested in the 800 MHz spectrum.

Meanwhile, Anterix told Fierce Wireless, “We continue to stay close to this and other spectrum expansion opportunities, including dialogue with stakeholders to evaluate anything that could potentially be incremental. We are clearly familiar with this spectrum band. , as we’ve brought it together with Nextel, piece by piece over decades.” Sprint acquired Nextel in 2005, and 800 MHz spectrum fell into the hands of T-Mobile after the Sprint acquisition.

B&M’s entry into the court case gives the court another choice if it decides not to grant Dish the extension. But it leaves a tough decision up to the Justice Department. NSR’s Levin says the DOJ can “double down” on its bet by making Dish the fourth-leading U.S. wireless competitor, or continue its tradition of not favoring a change (in this case, the extension Dish is seeking) in a final ruling involving a merger. However, the decision on whether to grant Dish the extension will rest with the court.

T-Mobile wants the court to dismiss Dish’s request for an extension

T-Mobile is asking the court to deny Dish’s request for a 10-month extension. LightReading received a statement from the operator saying: “Our position is explained in the documentation: Dish’s motion should be denied. They continue to lock down precious 800 MHz spectrum that they haven’t even committed to buy yet. Their claim of difficulty is a stalling tactic that is detrimental to making this spectrum available to consumers.”

The nation’s second-largest wireless provider also pointed out that the 2019 deal between it and Dish specifically prevents the companies from delaying the deal due to both companies’ financial positions. As T-Mobile told the court, “”The possibility that Dish may find it ‘more onerous than expected’ to obtain financing was not only anticipated by the parties but was specifically addressed and prohibited as a basis for default.”

T-Mobile has already mentioned that Burns & McDonnell are also interested in the 800 MHz airwaves. “Indeed, several potential bidders have already expressed interest in purchasing the 800 MHz spectrum licenses from T-Mobile. ”

T-Mobile wrote, “Burns & McDonnell Engineering says it has been ‘planning for years’ to buy spectrum if Dish doesn’t buy it. Burns & McDonnell reports it will “leverage spectrum nationwide for targeted community benefits that enable critical infrastructure operators such as electric utilities to implement wireless broadband networks.’ The sooner licenses are sold, the better.”

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