While this is not an indication that the FCC is going to withhold the licenses that Dish Network’s designated entities successfully bid on back in January, the FCC is still reviewing the final applications as it assigns licenses that were won in the AWS-3 auction.
AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai have made known their disapproval of Dish Network’s tactic to use designated entities in order to gain a 25% discount on spectrum won in the bidding.
The designated entity status is designed for small businesses that have much smaller revenue streams than the bigger players. The difference for Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless, Dish’s designated entities, was that Dish owns 85% of each company. Other carriers and Mr. Pai have claimed that Dish manipulated the program and coordinated the bidding between the three companies.
While Dish has denied the claims, FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, has said that the agency would revamp the designated entity rules before next year’s 600MHz incentive auction. Meanwhile, the FCC has approved the licenses won by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and a number of smaller bidders. It has also said that it will not award licenses to entities it deems broke the auction rules.
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