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FCC rejects Ergen’s $3.3bn wireless discount

Charlie Ergen’s lawyers will no doubt be back in action shortly. This time the argument will be with the powerful Federal Communications Commission and its chairman Tom Wheeler following his decision to reject a $3.3 billion ‘discount’ claimed by Dish Network over the recent AWS-3 wireless spectrum auctions.

Dish Network paid for the spectrum gained in the auction via two subsidiaries, SNR Wireless and Northstar Wireless.  Both businesses reportedly told the FCC that they were not controlled by Dish, and Dish EVP Stanton Dodge reiterated Dish’s arguments from earlier this year and saying that Dish had followed all the legal rules to ensure qualification for the discounts (which are given to small wireless operators).

However, in an 8-K filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission on July 22nd, Dish Network Corp confirmed that the FCC decision had gone against Dish, adding: “The FCC will not designate the matter for a hearing, or refer the matter to the FCC enforcement bureau or the Department of Justice; and all other relief sought by the parties that filed Petitions to Deny will be denied.  The draft order remains subject to change, and must be approved by a majority of the Commissioners to become effective.”

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