Dish's Designated Entities Give Up 197 Spectrum Licenses
Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless LicenseCo surrendered 197 AWS-3 spectrum licenses and paid a $413 million fine to the FCC for defaulting on their $3.3 billion payment. Dish Networks participated in this year's auction through Northstar and SNR. Dish hoped the smaller stature of the designated entities would qualify them for a discount on the spectrum licenses. Together, they won $13.3 billion worth of licenses and expected to receive a discount of $3.3 billion. The FCC later concluded that Dish held a controlling interest in the designated entities and they did not qualify for the small business discount. As such, the entities were on the hook for the full $13.3 billion. The companies paid the FCC $10 billion, but missed the deadline for paying the final $3.3 billion. As such, they have returned the spectrum licenses and paid the resulting fine. The FCC will re-auction the licenses after next year's 600MHz incentive auction, though Dish, Northstar, and SNR will be on the hook to cover the balance if the licenses don't win $3.3 billion when put back on sale. Dish and the smaller companies held onto some 505 spectrum licenses won during the AWS-3 auction, for which they have paid in full.
Dish's Designated Entities Under Attack
More organizations are piling on the designated entities that Dish Networks used to bid in this year's AWS-3 spectrum auction. Rather than bid directly, Dish had three small companies, in which it has an 85% stake, bid on its behalf.
FCC Hands Out More AWS-3 Licenses to Auction Winners
The FCC has delivered more licenses to winners of the AWS-3 spectrum auction, which concluded earlier this year. The bulk of licenses granted this week were given to Orion Wireless LLC and Geneseo Communications Services, and cover areas of Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Dish Unhappy About FCC's Position On Auction Discounts
Dish Networks has confirmed the FCC plans to deny it $3.3 billion in discounts on spectrum licenses. Dish used three small companies — called designated entities — to place bids on its behalf during the AWS-3 auction earlier this year.
AT&T Proposes Caps for Designated Entities
AT&T and a handful of other carriers today asked the FCC to consider a new way to define designated entities and small businesses in spectrum auctions moving forward. The proposal follows Dish Networks' use of designated entities — or small companies — to bid for spectrum in the AWS-3 auction on its behalf.