Dish Network is “cautiously optimistic” that the fixed-mobile broadband trials it’s currently running with Sprint and nTelos will turn into a “real business.”
During a Tuesday earnings call, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said those trials and other opportunities have the satellite-TV provider well-positioned for growth, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.
Dish last year announced fixed-mobile broadband trials with nTelos in rural Virginia and with Sprint in Texas. The company has since expanded the nTelos trial. In July, nTelos’ then-CEO James Hyde called early results “encouraging.”
The technology is relying on 2.5 GHz spectrum, of which Sprint holds a vast quantity after last year completing its acquisition of Clearwire.
Along with the potential for an expanded home broadband play, Dish still has plans to open up an OTT video option to go after non-traditional TV consumers.
Ergen reaffirmed that Dish will launch an OTT video offering before the end of the year. He said his company has attracted many major programmers but still intends to keep the offering scaled down in order to meet customer expectations in terms of price point.
When questioned about Dish’s large spectrum holdings and whether the company had considered placing it into another vehicle to reduce taxes in case of a transaction, Ergen admitted he has considered the option. But Dish Executive Vice President of Corporate Development Tom Cullen said the company still thinks OTT spectrum and its core business belong together.
Dish already holds 40 MHz of nationwide AWS spectrum and is potentially picking up more when the FCC’s AWS-3 auction begins Nov. 13.
The FCC has given Dish a timeline to deploy wireless service on its spectrum but Dish doesn’t currently have the network to do so.