Dish hands back AWS-3 licences

Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless, two DISH Network companies, have surrendered a part of their AWS-3 Spectrum to FCC.


Dish confirmed in a statement that it had surrendered licenses worth $3.3 billion and said it loaned its two affiliates $413 million for the penalty from its balance sheet.

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In letters to the FCC Thursday- a decision was due by 3 p.m.-SNR and Northstar said they would relinquish spectrum equal to the additional $3.3 billion they would have to have ponied up, either in a check Thursday or a letter of credit guaranteeing payment by December.

FCC rules also require that they pay a fee for defaulting on their obligations – roughly $413 million in the case of the two companies.

SNR Wireless is expected to be granted licenses with aggregate gross winning bids of $4.27 billion, covering approximately 2.9 billion MHz-POPs.

The Competitive Carriers Association, a group of about 100 smaller wireless broadband providers, has told the FCC it should reserve a second vacant channel for unlicensed use and place TV stations in the duplex gap “as needed”.

We remind investors that in Jan 2015, FCC concluded this AWS-3 spectrum auction which registered a record-breaking bid value of $44.89 billion.

Dish and partners had invested in separate companies with little to no revenue that can receive a 25 percent discount in auction bidding as “very small businesses”.

The Federal Communications Commission in July denied Dish Network a discount on $13.3 billion of airwaves it won, via Northstar and SNR, in the AWS-3 auction. Moreover, if the total bids in the re-auction fall below $3.3 billion, DISH and its affiliates will have to compensate for the difference.


The FCC in August voted to declare Northstar Wireless LLC and SNR Wireless LicenseCo LLC ineligible for the small-business discounts for their bidding. Dish doesn’t offer wireless service but has said previously it would like to.

A Dish Network logo is seen on a satellite dish on a Brooklyn apartment building roof in New York