FCC commissioner objects to Dish's 'small business' discounts in AWS-3

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai sharply criticized rules that allowed Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) to claim more than $3 billion in discounts aimed at small businesses during the government's just completed AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction.

Pai, one of two Republicans on the five-member Federal Communications Commission panel, says he will ask FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to investigate the award, which he says "makes a mockery" of the government agency's small business discount program.

Dish obtained $13.3 billion in winning bids, even surpassing Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ). (FierceWireless' Phil Goldstein has a complete breakdown of Dish's wireless strategy here.)

Dish qualified for the discounts because it bid via a pair of joint ventures that reported having less than $15 million in annual revenue. Dish's winning bids were listed under "Northstar Wireless" and "SNR Wireless LicenseCo." 

Dish reported revenue of $3.68 billion in the third quarter of 2014 alone.

If the discounts hold, Dish's auction bill will be reduced to about $10 billion. The satellite TV company with wireless aspirations finished second in the bidding behind AT&T ($18.2 billion) and ahead of Verizon ($10.4 billion).

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal story
- read this FierceWireless story

Related links:
How Dish Network's Charlie Ergen built a spectrum powerhouse--and what's next
AWS-3 AUCTION RESULTS: AT&T leads with $18.2B, Verizon at $10.4B, Dish at $10B and T-Mobile at $1.8B
Analysts divided over how much they believe AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Dish spent in AWS-3 auction

Suggested Articles

Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, has hired Melanie Hamilton as vice president of national sales.

The big four U.S. wireless carriers don't practice their video throttling uniformly.

When Charter and Disney earlier this week announced their new carriage agreement, they included news about cooperatively working against video piracy, which…