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T-Mobile Might Need to Auction Off Dish’s Low-Band Spectrum

Previously, Dish disclosed its financial status and worries about being able to “continue as a going concern” in an SEC filing. With its large debt due this year, the cable company has “substantial doubt” on its future. Because of this, Dish will no longer be able to purchase the 13.5MHz low-band 800MHz spectrum given to it by T-Mobile. The deal was supposed to cost $3.59 billion. 

The two companies had an agreement in October to extend this option to April 1, 2024. Dish paid $100 million to satisfy T-Mobile’s concerns. But now that Dish has expressed that it cannot exercise the option to purchase the 800MHz spectrum, the Un-carrier has no choice but to auction off these airwaves. 

T-Mobile’s CFO, Peter Osvaldik, shared that they have not “commenced that auction yet, but should they choose not to exercise it, that’ll be the next step for us.”

If this is the case, T-Mobile will have to work with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to hold the auction by fall. The government body will be the one to decide who can bid in the auction. 

While Verizon and AT&T are two brands that would show interest in joining, there is an issue that stops them from participating. When the government allowed T-Mobile to acquire Sprint, T-Mobile agreed not to sell these airwaves to the other national facilities-based MVNOs. Before it can do that, it will need the approval of the government.  

According to Fierce Wireless, the other firms that may be interested in the spectrum include Anterix and Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company. 

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