According to ABI Research, the failure of satellite DBSs like EchoStar and DirecTV to win their bids in the advanced wireless services auction could lead the companies to turn to WiMAX to build out mobile extensions to their TV service as well as upstream interactivity. Prior to the auction, the consortium of EchoStar, DirecTV, Rupert Murdoch and Charles Ergen topped the list with the most capital for bidding, however, after most of their bids were unsuccessful, the group decided to pull out of the running. ABI says that the retreat could see the group running into the arms of the WiMAX community, which recently got a major boost from Sprint's announced plans to build out a WiMAX network and Clearwire's $900 million deal with Intel and Motorola. A deal between the DBS consortium and Clearwire is most likely, and could pose a formidable threat to Sprint and its cable cohorts.
For those who haven't been playing along, the FCC is currently auctioning off wireless spectrum for "advanced wireless services" (AWS) like mobile TV. Leading into the auction, industry pundits expected a circus with bidders like EchoStar and DirecTV teaming up as well as Comcast, Cox, Advanced/Newhouse and Time Warner teaming up with Sprint. The CableVision Dolan family (no relation) also participated and subsequently dropped out after failed bids.
For more on the WiMAX play for DBSs:
- see the ABI press release