Dish tells U.S. FCC will participate in 2015 spectrum auction

Plans may include a partnership with another broadband player to build a wireless network

Reuters

(Reuters) - Dish Network Corp said it plans to take part in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's large sale of low-frequency airwaves planned for mid-2015, according to a filing disclosed on Wednesday.

Dish's Chairman Charlie Ergen and other executives met with the FCC's Chairman Tom Wheeler, four commissioners and numerous wireless officials on Monday, giving the most explicit pledge so far by the satellite TV provider to "meaningfully participate" in the so-called "incentive" auction.

"The incentive auction offers opportunities for competitive providers and new entrants to bid on and win much-needed lowband spectrum, which will facilitate the deployment of mobile broadband services," Dish Senior Vice President Jeffrey Blum wrote in the filing.

Ergen, Blum and other Dish representatives also reiterated their plan to bid in the smaller AWS-3 spectrum auction scheduled to begin Nov. 13, where Dish is expected to be one of the main participants.

Investors have been watching for any signs of what Ergen plans to do with the spectrum Dish has spent billions amassing. Potential plans may include a partnership with another broadband player to build a wireless network. Dish shares have risen nearly 60 percent to $65.70 over the past 12 months mainly thanks to investors' high hopes for the value of the company's spectrum.

In FCC meetings, Dish also repeated its recent criticism of the proposed mergers between two large U.S. cable providers Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc, and between No. 2 wireless carrier AT&T Inc and Dish's main satellite rival DirecTV.

"The pending Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger presents serious competitive concerns for the broadband and video marketplaces and therefore should be denied," Blum wrote.

It did not argue for the rejection of the AT&T/DirecTV merger but said it also presented such competitive concerns in the increasingly changing pay-TV and broadband industries.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh in Toronto; Additional reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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