FCC delays decision on Dish Networks plea
NEW YORK THE Federal Communications Commission said on Friday it was delaying its decision on whether Dish Network Corp can build a wireless cellular network, a move that could hurt the value of the satellite television company’s newly acquired wireless assets.
Dish shares fell more than 3 percent in after market trading. Dish was seeking a waiver of its licence to allow it to build a purely terrestrial network, rather than one that combines both satellite and terrestrial service.
The FCC denial does not mean the regulator will kill Dish’s wireless ambitions, said Brean Murray analyst Todd Mitchell.
“This will prolong the time frame but I do not think it reduces the ultimate likelihood of approval,” Mitchell said.
While the regulator said on Friday it had approved Dish’s license to acquire more than $3 billion worth of wireless spectrum, an FCC spokesman said that a “rulemaking process will best serve the public interest and maximize the longterm value of the spectrum for the American economy.” Two sources close to the matter said the FCC is aiming to make a decision on whether Dish can use its wireless spectrum to build a cellular network by the end of the year. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said on a conference call in late February that if Dish was not granted a waiver, or if there was a delay with a decision, it may have to look at alternatives with its wireless assets, including writing down their value.