Dish gets an FCC query about that wireless network after missed deadlines

July 11, 2018

Dish Network is being asked by federal regulators to provide details about its wireless network plans, a not-so-gentle reminder that the company has less than two years to use some of its $40 billion in airwaves or lose them.

The Federal Communications Commission wants specifics like what network equipment and chips Dish will use, which wireless frequencies it will operate on and what types of devices it plans to sell, according to a July 9 letter from the agency. Dish missed three earlier deadlines and faces an accelerated timeline to have a network built by March 2020, a year earlier than originally.

The prodding highlights the pressure Dish and its co-founder and Chairman Charlie Ergen are under to hang on to the airwaves that the company has accumulated and convince investors that there's still a big pay off for that investment. Dish failed to make deals with wireless operators T-Mobile and Sprint that would have let Ergen combine rather build a new network.

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