The idea of Clearwire hosting Dish's AWS2 spectrum seems to be bouncing around the news pages today. Clearly (no pun intended), Clearwire operates a 4G network that is very similar to Sprint Network Vision concept. With the necessary zoning and permitting, Clearwire could add this spectrum band with a new set of antennas and tower top base stations. So, this would get Dish to market after they pass the standard's body requirements for defining the new band, but what does it provide Clearwire. Different than Sprint, they don't need the spectrum, they need capital to increase the TDD-LTE build out. I believe that Clearwire would much rather Dish sign up for their wholesale mobile broadband service with an infusion of capital. My next blog will look at one of the other drawbacks for potential wholesale partners like Dish with Clearwire's TDD-LTE plan. Check back later in the week.
On the surface, a deal to host Dish's spectrum on Sprint's Network Vision platform would make alot of sense. The chart below highlights that part of Dish's (DI) spectrum is adjacent to the AWS-2 spectrum that recently has been referred to as the PCS H spectrum. Sprint is interested in acquiring this spectrum to increase their LTE channel size from 5x5 FDD-LTE to 10x10 FDD-LTE. Unfortunately, the Dish spectrum is configured where the uplink (from the handset to the cell site) would be adjacent to Sprint's LTE downlink (cell site to handset). This will be problematic for Dish. Cell sites transmit at much higher power than handset signals are received. Expensive filters on the separate Dish antennas may not be enough to allow the Dish antennas to be installed in the same plane (level) as the Sprint antennas.
You can look at this as being similar to the Lightsquared deal, except Lightsquared was planned into the deployment through the zoning and permitting process. With the standards body processes that are in front of Dish, it would still be years before equipment is installed and a network operating on Sprint's towers. A Dish MVNO to operate on Sprint's 3G Voice and LTE network would allow Dish to get a wireless product to market quickly.