Dish Closes DBSD, TerreStar Deals

Dish Network said Monday that it has closed the acquisition of DBSD North America and TerreStar, days after the Federal Communications Commission approved the deals but delayed a decision on whether to request a waiver to use their wireless licenses for a terrestrial cell phone service.
Dish agreed to purchase DBSD North America assets in bankruptcy court for about $1.4 billion in March. TerreStar, which also was in bankruptcy court, agreed to a 1.4 billion deal to sell its assets in July.
In a statement, Dish said it has closed both deals and looks forward to working with the FCC.
Dish had requested a waiver from the agency to use the 40 MHz of spectrum from both companies for terrestrial communications, but the FCC said on March 2 that it did not have sufficient basis to grant the waivers, instead opting to consider the request in a separate docket.
Dish has said in the past that it would use the licenses to construct its own wireless broadband network, most likely with a partner. But chairman Charlie Ergen said that without the proper waivers, the satellite giant would have to look at other alternatives, including selling the spectrum. Most analysts believe that the current FCC will only delay the process by about 6 months.
"Dish looks forward to working with the FCC on its forthcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and remains committed to using this spectrum to help the Administration and the FCC solve the nation's spectrum crunch," Dish said in a statement. "In parallel, Dish will initiate efforts to enhance the performance and capabilities of handsets that utilize the terrestrial and satellite links while exploring its options for a broader market entry."