Dish Network chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen appeared ready to throw in the towel concerning its wireless spectrum, telling analysts and reporters that in light of an expected regulatory order that would erase $3.3 billion in discounts won during the AWS-3 incentive auction, the satellite giant may be forced to sell or lease all of its wireless frequencies.
Dish came under fire for using “designated entities,” for small, minority-owned companies or rural organizations to bid on licenses during the AWS-3 auction. With those DEs Dish was able to obtain discounts that would save it about $3.3 billion in its bids. Dish was the third largest bidder in the AWS-3 auction with about $13.7 billion in bids (not including the discounts), behind AT&T and Verizon Communications.
But shortly after the auction, Verizon and other carriers complained that Dish had colluded with the DEs during the bidding process. Apparently, the FCC is listening.