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DISH Networks to Use Mobile Frequencies for IOT Applications PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 March 2018 10:23


Facing a looming Federal Communications Commission deadline to use some of its frequencies, Dish first plans to roll out a wireless network that machines and devices use to transmit data -- what’s been dubbed the "internet of things," or IoT.

Dish has acquired Denver-based startup ParkiFi, which makes sensors and software to track the use of parking spaces in real time. ParkiFi has developed magnetic sensors to detect cars, as well as devices that collect the sensors' data and transmit it to the cloud — all of it using wireless internet frequencies.

Buying ParkiFi brings in expertise that Dish will need to understand how best to build an IoT network and offer businesses products that use it, said Tom Cullen, Dish’s executive vice president of corporate development. “Eighty percent of ParkiFi’s experience is applicable to everything we plan to do,” he said.

In a recent 10K filing at the FCC Dish confirmed that it is moving forward with its mobile network build out.

According to the filing, “Since 2008, we have directly invested over $11 billion to acquire certain wireless spectrum licenses and related assets and made over $10 billion in non-controlling investments in certain entities, for a total of over $21 billion.  In March 2017, we notified the FCC that we plan to deploy a next-generation 5G-capable network, focused on supporting narrowband Internet of Things (“IoT”).  The first phase of our network deployment will be completed by March 2020, with subsequent phases to be completed thereafter.  We may also determine that additional wireless spectrum licenses may be required to commercialize our wireless business and to compete with other wireless service providers.” 

“These wireless spectrum licenses are subject to certain interim and final build-out requirements.  We will need to make significant additional investments or partner with others to, among other things, commercialize, build-out, and integrate these licenses and related assets, and any additional acquired licenses and related assets; and comply with regulations applicable to such licenses.  Depending on the nature and scope of such commercialization, build-out, integration efforts, and regulatory compliance, any such investments or partnerships could vary significantly.  In addition, as we consider our options for the commercialization of our wireless spectrum, we will incur significant additional expenses and will have to make significant investments related to, among other things, research and development, wireless testing and wireless network infrastructure.” 

DISH further added in the 10K: “In March 2017, we notified the FCC that we plan to deploy a next-generation 5G-capable network, focused on supporting narrowband IoT. The first phase of our network deployment will be completed by March 2020, with subsequent phases to be completed thereafter. We may also determine that additional wireless spectrum licenses may be required to commercialize our wireless business and to compete with other wireless service providers.” “We currently expect expenditures for our wireless projects to be between $500 million and $1.0 billion through 2020.”

During Dish’s earnings call with investors on February 26 Dish’s Tom Cullen said the carrier is “making good steady progress on the network buildout.” He said Dish has already engaged with network equipment vendors, tower providers and chipset and deployment companies to build out its NB-IoT network. He said the company has also increased its workforce dedicated to its wireless effort.

“The network, as we talked about it and disclosed to the FCC last year, is a narrowband IoT network,” Dish execs said on the earnings call. “It’ll cover 70% of the population at a minimum across the country, and obviously after we came out with a narrowband IoT network, you’ve seen major communication companies around the world and the United States also declare their intentions for narrowband IoT. So, the connectivity side of where the world is going is being recognized by people at all levels.”