Anyone following the broadcasting space knows that DISH owns a lot of spectrum, and is on a deadline set by the FCC to use it. If they fail to meet that deadline, they have to forfeit all $30.2 billion worth of spectrum holdings that they amassed over the last decade. The company is making sure all of their employees are aware of this with their latest HQ decoration: a massive digital countdown clock that is counting down to the FCC deadline.
Currently, DISH has roughly 500 days until they need to have established NB-IoT wireless network services across most of the United States. Specifically, DISH has a deadline of March 7, 2020 if they want to meet the FCC’s build-out requirements.
This countdown clock is the latest example of how, with the FCC deadline approaching, DISH is taking this spectrum issue seriously. Remember, late last year Charlie Ergen stepped down from his role as CEO specifically to focus on the company’s wireless business.
DISH has broken down their wireless plan into two parts. The first part, the part the clock is counting down too, is the deployment of an NB-IoT network. The second phase, is the actual building out of a 5G network. A few months ago, DISH came out with an official estimate of $10 billion to get a 5G network to market.
Of course, many analysts believe that DISH is just acting like they plan on building out a 5G network, but that internally the company is angling for an acquisition. After all, it does make sense. Such a large spectrum holding has to be enticing for major wireless companies like Verizon, who already have the infrastructure in place to deploy a 5G network.
However, externally DISH continues to go out of its way to make clear that they do plan on creating their own 5G wireless network with their holdings. Whether this is accurate, or even feasible, remains to be seen.
The one thing that is certain about this entire story is the fact that the countdown clock continues to tick away in DISH HQ; ticking ever closer to that FCC deadline.