Mobile giant Sprint (NYSE: S) reportedly has proposed a partnership to satellite TV provider Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) under which Sprint could gain access to Dish's valuable spectrum while the satellite player uses Sprint's network to launch its own long-anticipated mobile service. Such a partnership would validate long-discussed speculation that Dish would partner with a mobile carrier--and more specifically Sprint--to get its mobile aspirations off the ground.
The partnership proposal was reported by Bloomberg News late last week, not long after Sprint, in an FCC filing, had criticized Dish's network plans for the 40 Mhz of AWS-4 spectrum adjacent to the H-block of spectrum at 1900 Mhz that the FCC has committed to auction off by sometime in 2015. Both Sprint and the FCC have criticized Dish's plans for the spectrum as involving power requirements that are too high and could affect operation of the H-block spectrum.
It is significant to note, however, that Sprint has not been questioning Dish's right to terrestrial use of its spectrum, only how possible uses could potentially negatively affect the adjacent spectrum. Sprint's proposal of a partnership likely would mitigate most concerns, assuming Sprint would gain use of the spectrum and then help Dish launch service on it via some kind of leasing arrangement.
The proposal comes as the FCC appears ready to vote on whether or not Dish is allowed terrestrial-only applications of its spectrum, as well as a separate vote on plans for moving forward with the H-block auction.
- see this San Francisco Chronicle post
Sprint and Dish often have been thought to be potential partners
Sprint last week criticized Dish's spectrum plans