DISH finally doing something with its spectrum?

DISH has been telling us for years that it’s going to build out a wireless cellular network. In fact, they’ve been holding on to their wireless licenses for so long that at one point they risked losing them. The FCC has a rule saying if you have a license you have to use it, and they weren’t. In fact, they aren’t. DISH’s wireless ambitions led it into a three-way fight with Softbank and Sprint that occupied a lot of space on this blog in 2012. Most of those articles have been removed during our transition to a new platform, but you can still read where I compared the entire thing to Vietnam.)

Well, they’re finally getting off the starting blocks, at least they say they are.

The folks at Cord Cutters News listened to the entire DISH conference call and they walked away with a little tidbit of interest to all of us: DISH plans to spend a billion dollars to roll out a national 5G network. This will be an all new network that will be anticipated to cover about 70% of the United States with “fixed wireless” service. In other words, they’re not talking about service cellular users, this will be internet service to replace the wired internet in your home. An antenna about the size of a small satellite dish will go up in your home and you’ll get internet that way.

This move puts DISH not only in competition with internet providers like Comcast and Charter, but also with wireless companies like Verizon and AT&T, who are also working to implement fixed wireless solutions. (Plus, their old buddy Sprint is in the mix here but I tend to ignore them when I can.)

While there weren’t any real details other than that revealed, such as when this all-new network will actually be operational, one thing is for sure: the world of home internet is really going to be shaken up more than it has been since fiber replaced DSL ten years ago. Back then we saw a quantum shift where phone companies all of a sudden had to compete with cable companies, providing many people with a choice of internet service providers for the first time. Now, with fixed wireless, it finally becomes possible that an average person could have four or five choices for home internet that are all really excellent high-speed options.

Personally, and this should not surprise longtime readers, I’m betting on AT&T. No one else has the combination of a top cellular network, an expanding landline footprint (with about 150 years of experience), top content, and an installation team familiar with home installs of wireless equipment. It’s a killer combination and I look forward to seeing what they’ll do with it.