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Dish Asks Regulators to Reject AT&T Call for Rapid Network Build

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Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Dish Network Corp. asked U.S. regulators to reject AT&T Inc.’s call to require the rapid construction of a wireless phone network on airwaves that Dish seeks to acquire.

Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite-television provider, plans a nationwide high-speed network on spectrum acquired from DBSD North America Inc. and TerreStar Networks Inc. The deal needs clearance from the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T in a Jan. 26 filing asked the FCC to require a fast-track buildout by Englewood, Colorado-based Dish, saying airwaves must be put to use promptly to cope with rising demand from wireless devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Dallas-based AT&T, the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier, proposed a requirement of network coverage for 100 million people within 33 months.

“The overly aggressive and unrealistic schedule AT&T advocates would likely set Dish up for failure or force Dish into unfavorable business arrangements” with large carriers, Jeffrey Blum, Dish senior vice president, said in a filing posted today on the FCC website.

Analysts, including Stifel Nicolaus & Co.’s Christopher King, have said that Dish may be an acquisition target for AT&T, which is under pressure to add capacity to accommodate network traffic growth and keep up with Verizon Wireless. In December, AT&T abandoned its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc. in the face of regulators’ opposition, withdrawing from a deal that would have given it more airwaves.

Dish should be allowed to wait for equipment that meets an advanced standard, and building now would “waste precious resources that are better spent developing a next-generation network,” Blum wrote in the filing dated yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at tshields3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at mshepard7@bloomberg.net

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