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Dish looks to convert satellite spectrum for ground use in wake of LightSquared's failure

News by Dan Seifert on Monday March 19, 2012.

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Satellite television provider Dish Networks is looking to gain approval from the Federal Communications Commission to use some of its satellite spectrum for a terrestrial mobile phone network. This is the same approach that LightSquared made and failed to gain approval with, though Dish may not have the same interference issues that LightSquared faced with its efforts.

Dish's goal is to use satellite airwaves for a land-based voice and data cellular network that would compete with Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and others. LightSquared attempted to use its 1,600MHz holdings for the same purpose, but ran into a number of interference issues with existing GPS services and was eventually denied the right to create a land-based network by the FCC.

It is not likely that Dish will have that same problem, however, as its spectrum holdings are above 2,000MHz, far enough away from GPS services to avoid any interference. Dish also benefits from a "guard band" of spectrum, a narrow sliver of unused spectrum, that separates its frequency bands from those being used for other services.

The FCC has said that Dish will have to wait until new rules that allow former satellite spectrum to be used for ground-based services are approved before it can build out a network. [via Bloomberg]

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Dan Seifert
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.

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