Dish to Sell Wireless Spectrum If Network Plans Fail

Dish Network Corp. will sell its spectrum if current plans to find a partner to create a wireless network don’t work, Chairman Charles Ergen said.

Dish has “billions of dollars of spectrum” that could become available, Ergen said yesterday at a conference in Dana Point, California hosted by AllThingsD.

The company is seeking to create a wireless network that can deliver video, voice and data to its customers, Ergen said. A network is essential to Dish’s plans to deliver video to its satellite television subscribers both inside and outside the home, he said. Dish is offering $3.30 a share for a minority stake in wireless carrier Clearwire Corp.

“We would admit we failed and try a new approach,” Ergen said, if efforts to partner with a wireless company aren’t effective. “We would hang a ‘for sale’ sign on the spectrum.”

Dish, based in Englewood, Colorado, rose 1.5 percent to $37.66 in New York. The stock has climbed 3.5 percent this year, trailing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s 6.5 percent gain.

Dish’s offer is good for Clearwire’s shareholders, Ergen said. Dish is competing with Sprint Nextel Corp., which offered $2.97 a share for the portion of the wireless company it doesn’t already own.

“It’s not an illusory offer,” Ergen said. “We’re serious about it. Our offer is good for shareholders. Sprint will have to do more to keep us out.”

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