Dish Plans to Participate in Government Auction of Airwaves

Dish Network Corp., the satellite-television operator, plans to take part in the U.S. government’s spectrum auction designed to raise cash for TV-station owners and harvest airwaves for smartphones.

The company “looks forward to meaningfully participating” in the sale, Englewood, Colorado-based Dish said in a regulatory filing today. The auction “offers opportunities for competitive providers and new entrants to bid on and win much-needed lowband spectrum.”

The Federal Communications Commission plans to sell airwaves given up voluntarily by TV stations so the frequencies can be used to accommodate the growing number of smartphones, tablets and other wireless-data devices. In May, the regulators set limits on bidding by AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., the two largest wireless providers, to help ensure small carriers can compete for rural areas and prevent any company from dominating the auction.

Dish has built a portfolio of wireless airwave licenses worth almost $26 billion, raising the possibility that it may become an acquisition target of one of the wireless carriers. The company hasn’t put the airwaves it has to use.

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