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Dish tries to move beyond satellite, break into the ISP and wireless markets

Dish CES 2013 stock 1020

Dish Network has long been known for its satellite TV service, but over the last year or so, the company has made a number of efforts towards branching out to become a true ISP. The company has also tried to break into the wireless world, as well — potential partnerships with T-Mobile, Google, and Clearwire have all been discussed at one point or another. The company is even trying to build out its own LTE network. Follow along with all of Dish's efforts here.

31 updates and 867 comments below.

Jan 09 5:20a

Dish reportedly backing out of $2.2 billion bid for wireless provider LightSquared

US satellite provider Dish is reportedly retracting a bid worth $2.2 billion for bankrupt wireless provider LightSquared. The Wall Street Journal says that Dish, who bid for LightSquared in May last year, could confirm the termination of the offer this week.

Dish, better known for its satellite TV service, has spent the last two years trying to diversify its services and become a true ISP. It bid for LightSquared in May of 2013, primarily to gain access to its spectrum, after a series of...

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Dec 17 3:05p

Dish partners with Sprint for LTE-based home broadband trial

Dish's attempts to disrupt Sprint's buyout with SoftBank may not have come to fruition, but apparently that doesn't mean the two companies can't make up and sign a deal. The two are teaming up to test out broadband service that pick ups wireless signals from Sprint's 4G LTE network and delivers them into homes. The service will use both indoor and outdoor routers that tap into Sprint's 2.5 GHz signal, putting high speed data services in places that might have been previously unavailable. The...

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Jul 09 10:39a

Sprint now finally owns 100 percent of Clearwire

Sprint just announced that it has successfully completed its purchase of Clearwire — its final, best offer of $5 per share was accepted, and the transaction has been closed as of today. This comes just one day after SoftBank and Sprint announced their merger would be complete on July 10th and less than a week since the FCC gave both deals its blessing. Sprint was already a majority shareholder in Clearwire, but now the carrier — and thus Sprint's new owner, SoftBank — now owns 100 percent of...

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Jun 26 4:15p

Dish withdraws bid for Clearwire following Sprint's latest offer

The Sprint, Dish, Clearwire, and SoftBank acquisition saga may be close to over. Dish has withdrawn its offer to purchase Clearwire, according to a press release pushed across the wire this afternoon. The satellite television company last bid $4.40 per share, but Sprint's latest offer of $5 per share — enough to earn the backing of Clearwire's board — has apparently convinced Dish to give up on this particular opportunity. Sprint, meanwhile, is in the middle of being acquired by Japan's...

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Jun 20 3:12p

Clearwire's board backs aggressive new acquisition offer from Sprint

It looks like at least one facet of the drama between Sprint, Clearwire, and Dish will soon be coming to a close: Sprint has just submitted another increased bid to purchase the remaining shares of Clearwire that it doesn't already own. Sprint has been trying to acquire Clearwire since last December, but Dish swooped in and started a bidding war with its own offer in January. More recently, Sprint upped its bid and called it its "best and final offer," but Dish quickly responded with an...

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Jun 18 7:27p

Dish bails on Sprint acquisition to focus on Clearwire

Dish Network has pulled out of the competition to buy third-place US wireless carrier Sprint after months of back-and-forth with competitor SoftBank. After seeing the Japanese operator table a buyout offer in October 2012, Dish countered with its own surprise bid in April, leading to some heated exchanges in the media. Reuters reports that Dish will instead focus on acquiring Clearwire Corp. The company issued a statement on its change of plans in the form of a press release, the full text of...

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Jun 17 8:03p

Sprint sues to stop Dish's Clearwire acquisition plans

Dish scored a major coup in its efforts to scoop up Sprint acquisition target Clearwire last week when it won the support of Clearwire’s board. Today, Sprint is firing back in court with allegations that the proposed Dish deal would be illegal. "DISH has repeatedly attempted to fool Clearwire’s shareholders into believing its proposal was actionable in an effort to acquire Clearwire’s spectrum and to obstruct Sprint’s transaction with Clearwire," it wrote in a press release.

May 29 9:38p

Dish tops Sprint's bid for Clearwire (update: shareholder vote postponed)

As Friday’s shareholder vote approaches, the competition for Clearwire’s spectrum continues to heat up, with Dish upping its bid to $4.40 a share in cash — nearly a third higher than Sprint’s $3.40 bid from just last week, reports The Wall Street Journal. But while Dish is throwing out the higher dollar figure, the would-be deal is muddled by the fact that Sprint already owns half of Clearwire, and has had a standing agreement to buy the remainder since last year. As The Wall Street Journal...

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May 20 4:36p

Dish puts in $2 billion bid for LightSquared's satellite spectrum, claims report

Satellite television provider Dish has been making moves to launch a terrestrial LTE wireless network for years, including a $25.5 billion bid for wireless carrier Sprint. According to a report from Bloomberg, Dish isn't putting all of its bets on the Sprint deal, however, as it has put in a $2 billion bid to purchase the spectrum owned by bankrupt LightSquared.

LightSquared famously went bankrupt in 2012 after the Federal Communications Commission initially approved and then later denied...

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Apr 18 2:57p

Citing security concerns, Dish claims it's a better buyer for Sprint than Japanese carrier SoftBank

Sprint is currently being courted by two different companies — Japanese carrier SoftBank is still hoping its $20.1 billion bid will clear on July 1st, but satellite TV provider Dish is now attempting a $25.5 billion takeover of the US's third-largest wireless carrier. Now, according to a just-released FCC filing, Dish is getting more aggressive about stopping the SoftBank / Sprint deal from going forward. Dish has asked US regulators to hold their review of the SoftBank deal on the grounds...

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Apr 15 6:18a

Dish Network attempts $25.5 billion Sprint merger

Dish Network has launched a $25.5 billion takeover bid that would see it take control of Sprint. Japanese carrier SoftBank is currently in the process of purchasing Sprint, but Dish's offer could derail the takeover. Today's announcement represents a proposal, rather than a legally-binding offer, but The Wall Street Journal says the company is confident it can raise the funds necessary for such a large purchase. Under the conditions of the bid, Dish's shareholders would gain full control over...

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Feb 27 9:04a

Clearwire to take $80 million in financing from Sprint, hampering odds of Dish buyout

Clearwire plans to take $80 million in financing from Sprint, the first time the company has pulled from an $800 million arrangement between the two. The announcement confirms a report from The Wall Street Journal yesterday, with the money coming in the form of notes that convert into stock, a tactic that could eventually increase Sprint's stake in Clearwire — even as the carrier attempts to buy the company's remaining shares outright. That plan has been delayed some thanks to Dish Network,...

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Feb 01 10:41a

Dish's interest in Clearwire is making it hard for Sprint to close the deal

Clearwire announced on Friday that it will not be taking a financing offer from Sprint (worth up to $800 million) because it is still seriously considering Dish's surprise bid from earlier this month, which was far more money than Sprint put on the table. If Clearwire were to take Sprint's financing offer, Dish has said that it would retract its bid for the company, which at $5.15 billion is far more than the $2.2 billion that Sprint and its parent company Softbank have offered to buy out the...

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Jan 23 10:55p

Google building secret wireless network, says it involves 'highly competitive consumer electronics'

Rumors have been swirling for months that Google has big wireless plans, possibly including a partnership with Dish, which hasn't been shy about telegraphing its intentions to build a cellular LTE network. Now, the pieces may be falling into place: Google is planning to build a secret wireless network on its Mountain View campus.

According to FCC filings spotted by wireless engineer Steven Crowley, it's a pretty hefty test: Google says it will use up to 50 base stations and 200 "user...

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Jan 08 6:45p

Dish makes surprise bid to buy Clearwire out from under Sprint

The drama surrounding Sprint's LTE roadmap has taken yet another turn, as Dish has made an unsolicited bid to buy Clearwire for $5.15 billion. Clearwire, of course, had already agreed to sell itself to Sprint — the half that Sprint didn't already own, that is — for around $2.2 billion. Sprint was only willing to part with that cash after it was acquired by Japanese carrier SoftBank. The corporate twists and turns have been an ongoing story and Dish's offer is a surprise — although the...

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Dec 12 4:53a

Dish gains FCC approval to build its own LTE network

The FCC has finally approved Dish Network’s plans to build out an LTE network using its available wireless spectrum. The satellite company had been lobbying to use its spectrum for some time, and it's now free to do so after extensive negotiations on the terms of the approval. Those included how many potential customers the network would reach, as well as the penalties that Dish would face if it failed to meet its deadlines. Dish is naturally pleased with the development, saying in a...

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Dec 07 3:52p

Sprint reportedly courting Dish to provide the network for proposed mobile phone service

Yesterday, we heard a rumor that Dish was in talks with Blockbuster to sell mobile phones at the movie chain's remaining retail stores, and now Bloomberg is reporting that Sprint has approached Dish about a partnership to get the satellite provider into the cell phone game. Sprint's network would power this rumored service, making Dish just the latest MVNO to run on Sprint's network — Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile are just two of several who currently utilize Sprint's spectrum to run their...

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Dec 05 5:19p

Dish reportedly plans to sell mobile phones at Blockbuster retail stores

According to a report from Bloomberg, Dish Network plans to start selling phones out of Blockbuster's retail stores as a trial in the company's effort to join the wireless market. Dish has planned to build a mobile network in the US that could come by 2016, and while the company clashed with the FCC on terms earlier this year, two weeks ago FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski officially pledged to back its plans. Blockbuster already sells phones for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint through its...

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Nov 21 10:37a

Dish Network's plans for a mobile network backed by FCC chairman

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has officially provided his backing to Dish Network's plans to build a mobile network in the US with its satellite spectrum. Dish has been trying to get approval for its network from the FCC for some time, and it still has to gain approval from the other four commissioners on the FCC's board. The company hopes to build a terrestrial cellular network using spectrum that used to be allocated for satellite service.

Genachowksi also backed a similar proposal from...

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Nov 16 10:37a

Google and Dish Network are in talks to launch a wireless service, says WSJ

Google and Dish Network have purportedly been discussing launching their own wireless service, reports the Wall Street Journal. According to sources, the talks are still in their preliminary stages and are not indicative of a finalized deal. Dish Network has spoken with a number of companies in the search for a wireless partner, but has not specified who it has made contact with. Dish chairman Charlie Ergen previously stated that the company is looking to team up with a partner that currently...

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Oct 05 10:17a

Dish scraps plans to turn Blockbuster into Netflix competitor

Dish Network is abandoning plans to transform Blockbuster into a Netflix rival, founder and chairman Charlie Ergen told Bloomberg in an interview. Dish bought the movie rental company in April 2011 after its bankruptcy, opened a movie streaming and disc-by-mail service for Dish Network customers, and sold thousands of Blockbuster stores nationwide. The cable company still has additional plans for the Blockbuster brand aside from using it as a nationwide video streaming or disc-by-mail...

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Sep 27 2:47p

Dish talking to networks about internet-only TV packages, says Bloomberg

Bloomberg is reporting that Dish Network is currently in talks with several networks with regards to a new package that would let customers watch television channels over the internet without a cable subscription. Citing several sources familiar with the matter, the report claims that the online-only option would offer smaller bundles of channels compared to traditional cable packages, but at a lower price. These channels could then be watched on a computer or tablet.

11:58a

Dish launching satellite broadband service aimed at rural areas on October 1st

Earlier this summer, we heard rumors that Dish was planning to launch a satellite-based broadband service aimed at rural areas, and now the company has officially announced its new internet offering. DishNet will be available nationwide as of October 1st, and will offer two main packages: the $39.99 / month package (plus equipment fees) will offer users 5 Mbps down and 1Mbps up, with a 10GB data cap. Stepping up to the $49.99 plan increases the download speeds to 10 Mbps and bumps the data...

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Aug 16 7:54a

Dish Network planning nationwide 15Mbps satellite broadband for rural areas

Satellite TV provider Dish Network will introduce a new range of broadband options in late September or early October, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek. Using a satellite maintained by sister company EchoStar, the service will provide download connections of up to 15Mbps to rural areas without reliable access to cable broadband. While only marginally faster than the company's existing ViaSat-powered satellite broadband service, which offers download...

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May 22 11:56a

T-Mobile and MetroPCS want Dish to give up half of its spectrum

Dish is still in the process of working with the FCC on the terms for building out its own LTE network, but if T-Mobile and MetroPCS have their way the company will be giving back half of its spectrum for auction. In two separate FCC filings, both T-Mobile and MetroPCS urged the commission to "reassign" 20 MHz of Dish's portion of the 2 GHz band, which would then be auctioned off to other providers. The arrangement would allow Dish to keep the other half of its spectrum assignment for...

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May 18 2:10p

Dish negotiating with FCC on LTE buildout expectations, network could come in 2016

Dish is one of the few non-traditional entrants in the LTE market still left standing, and the TV company has been working with the FCC on terms for building out service in the so-called AWS-4 band where the company has a significant spectrum position. Dish stated on Thursday that not only is the FCC's timetable unmanageable, but that its penalties for failing to meet deadlines, like automatic license termination, are simply unrealistic.

Both Dish and the FCC have proposals on the table for...

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Mar 21 12:30p

FCC proposals would let Dish build a 4G network, make 700MHz more useful

Two important proposals came out of an FCC meeting this morning, both of which have the potential for sweeping effects on broadband wireless in the US in the coming years. First off, Dish's intention to start using 2GHz satellite spectrum for terrestrial cellular service is off to a strong start — it seems that the feds have made an initial push to get behind the conversion, which would move it from MSS (Mobile Satellite Service) to AWS (Advanced Wireless Service). That's excellent news for...

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Mar 19 3:09p

Dish Network's spectrum shouldn't run into same GPS issues as LightSquared

LightSquared didn't fare so well with its plans to utilize satellite spectrum to build an LTE network, but Dish Network might be more lucky. Unlike LightSquared's spectrum, which operates in the 1600MHz band and was found to cause GPS interference, Dish's licenses are for frequencies of 2GHz and above. Because this frequency isn't as close to GPS, Dish likely won't run into the same interference issues. That's not to say that the satellite provider isn't having problems with building its...

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Mar 03 4:16a

FCC denies Dish Network's waiver request for new LTE network

Dish Network has been running into interference from AT&T in its efforts to build a new LTE-Advanced network, and the FCC just dealt it another blow. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the FCC has denied Dish's request for a waiver that would have let it immediately offer cellphone service using spectrum it purchased last year. Instead, a review will be conducted to determine whether Dish's sliver of the 2GHz band is suited for such a network. The move comes after the FCC was forced to...

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Jan 18 7:55a

Dish Network open to mergers and acquisitions in either direction

Speculation is rampant over the future of Dish Network, and CEO Joseph Clayton is saying that the company is "open to all possible options" — whether that be acquiring a company, or being acquired. Clayton had previously expressed interest in linking up with T-Mobile, needing a carrier to make use of the LTE spectrum Dish has been buying up.

Another possibility is an acquisition by AT&T, which is likely to be interested following its failed T-Mobile takeover bid. Dish could be a convenient...

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Jan 09 3:24p

Dish to sell bundles with ViaSat satellite internet

Dish has just announced that it's going to be offering a TV and internet bundle. The company is going to be selling ViaSat's satellite internet service, which provides customers with up to 12 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds. We don't have specific details on the bundles available, although we know they'll start at $79.98, with installation costing at least $99. We'll let you know more when we hear it.

Dec 12 2:01p

Dish Network CEO open to T-Mobile partnership if AT&T buyout fails

Dish Network CEO Joseph Clayton told Bloomberg today that he'd try to partner with T-Mobile if AT&T's bid to buy the fourth-place carrier ultimately fails at the hands of a skeptical FCC and dismissive DOJ. Dish started buying up spectrum earlier this year for a planned LTE network, and Clayton says he could use T-Mobile's spectrum to build a real competitor to AT&T and Verizon — and if T-Mobile's not interested, he's also willing to go to Sprint. It's not the first time Clayton's...

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