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Dish, nTelos Deploy 50 Mbps Fixed LTE in Rural Virginia

Fri, 06/14/2013 - 10:07am
Ben Munson

Dish Network has deployed fixed broadband service in rural Virginia using nTelos’ 2.5 GHz wireless BRS spectrum. The initial tests yielded speeds of 20-50 Mbps.

In May, Dish and nTelos announced a partnership to co-develop the service. For the initial test, the companies activated two wireless tower test sites in the Blue Ridge Mountains using Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson equipment. The broadband antenna used by Dish can be installed directly next to Dish’s television satellite.

“Dish has a nationwide workforce of professional technicians that can be dispatched to install both a satellite dish for our video service and an antenna for broadband on the same roof at the same time,” said Dish executive vice president of corporate development Tom Cullen in a statement.

Dish and nTelos didn’t mention the duration of the trial or any plans for expansion. But Dish, in a letter to the FCC, seemed confident the test was a good demonstration of what Dish could do with Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz EBS/BRS spectrum.

“Dish has already offered concrete plans regarding how it would use the combined Dish/Sprint/Clearwire spectrum assets to create a robust fixed and mobile broadband service that will benefit customers throughout the U.S., including those in unserved and underserved rural areas,” said the company in an ex parte filing with the FCC.

Clearwire recently shifted gears and threw its support behind Dish’s $4.40 per share tender offer, which could result in DISH owning up to 25 percent of the wireless broadband carrier. Clearwire had previously supported Sprint’s offer to buy up the approximately 50 percent of Clearwire it doesn’t already own.

Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services yesterday recommended Clearwire shareholders vote against Sprint's offer. Clearwire’s shareholders are scheduled to vote on the matter June 24.

In the meantime, Dish’s $25.5 billion offer to merge with Sprint looks to be on the ropes following SoftBank’s improved offer to acquire Sprint. Sprint’s board has thrown its full support behind the SoftBank offer and ended talks with Dish. But Sprint did set a June 18 deadline for Dish to submit its “best and final” offer.

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