Rumor mill: Verizon interested in Dish Network's wireless spectrum

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) might not be interested in buying Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) but the company is very interested in snatching up the satcaster's wireless spectrum, according to a news report.

Analysts have estimated that Dish's spectrum could be worth up to $17 billion and according to unnamed sources cited by the New York Post, Verizon and Dish have been holding informal talks about a deal.

Dish controls more than 50 MHz of spectrum, including 40 MHz in the AWS-4 band and 10 MHz of the 1900 MHz PCS H Block, part of which is adjacent to AWS-4. Speaking in the context of the billions of dollars Dish has spent to acquire spectrum, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said recently that "we're ready to harvest our investments."

The news comes just a month after Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said during an investor conference that Verizon was not interested in buying Dish. "I don't think owning a satellite company is something I'm interested in at this point," McAdam said at the time.

But pressure to act soon is mounting, The Post said. The FCC last month set guidelines for auctioning 600 MHz spectrum next year, and the auction's rules could make it harder for Verizon to compete in those fall auctions. Specifically, the FCC plans to withhold up to 30 MHz of spectrum in that auction for smaller carriers, thus preventing Verizon from purchasing it.

Verizon might also be pushed to act sooner rather than later because, according to a recent analyst report from JP Morgan, Dish soon might make a bid for T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), taking its spectrum off the market.

For more:
- the New York Post has this story
DSL Reports has this story

Related articles:
AT&T's Stephens: DirecTV deal will create synergies in set-top boxes, advertising and content
FCC to focus on whether wireless should be treated like wireline on net neutrality 
AT&T: DirecTV buy will save it 20% on programming costs

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