I feel like I'm repeating myself - maybe because I am - but if you thought the LightSquared saga was over, think again. The company was going to revolutionize the 4G industry, but that was before the FCC became confused by the technology and blamed LightSquared for GPS interference. So, the company filed bankruptcy in August of last year and now it has put all of its assets up for auction.
LightSquared mainly owns a bunch of spectrum licenses, but all of the company will be pieced apart and auctioned off on November 25th. So far, L-Band Acquisition Corp is the lead bidder, who wants to buy all of LightSquared, including 40 MHz of wireless spectrum, for $2.2 billion. That company, interestingly enough, is tied to DISH Network, a corporation that has been wanting to get into mobile for quite some time now. It is also intriguing to note that this is the same spectrum that the FCC initially blocked, causing LightSquared to go into business. It seems that the government agency has had a change of heart now that someone else has entered the picture. The FCC allowed this spectrum to be auctioned under the premise that it could be used for any purpose.
Analysts have said that the DISH pickup seems likely, as there might not be any other bidders for this particular spectrum, especially if LBAC is offering over 2 billion in cash for the entire company. In addition, DISH already owns two ranges of 40 MHz S-band spectrum, which they grabbed from TerreStar Networks for $2.9 billion, when that company went under. DISH also has a slot of 700 MHz spectrum. Those three acquisitions along with this potential buyout sets up DISH Network to execute a wireless network perfectly.
And, they already have the experience. When Sprint was acquired by Softbank, putting DISH out of the race, they teamed up with regional MVNO NTELOS to rollout broadband services to the countryside of Virginia, running on 2.5 GHz spectrum.
We'll know what happens by November 25th, however if DISH does in fact get the bid, this would put the satellite TV company in charge of a lot of spectrum in order to roll out their own mobile offerings. This could put DISH toe-to-toe with T-Mobile and Sprint, if the rollout is nationwide. That move could be beneficial for all cell phone users across the country, as another contender in the ring will bring more competition, which means more innovation in the marketspace, and hopefully, lower prices for consumers. Or, it could put someone else out of business.