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

YouTube TV’s price hike gives cable operators breathing room to run the next big TV race, which will be fought and won on the TV UX battleground.

Charter Communications said it will add five “Latino targeted TV networks” to its Spectrum TV lineup.

Among pay TV subscribers and broadband-only subscribers, YouTube and Netflix were among the favorite services featured in makeshift video bundles.