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National Wireless Independent Dealer Association

Is DISH about to lose $3B in Spectrum?

Dish logo - NWIDAFOX Business is reporting that the FCC has ruled unanimously that Dish CEO Charlie Ergen improperly bid on $12 billion worth of wireless spectrum back in 2015, and received a $3-plus billion discount through a government program designed to benefit small businesses. Ergen bid on the spectrum through a company called Northstar Wireless, which he has a stake in.

There has been controversy over the deal for the past 5 years. Ergen has argued that Northstar was a separate entity from Dish. The government didn’t agree and fined him $500 million and also forced him to essentially give back $3 billion in spectrum until the matter could be sorted out. Last week, the FCC finally ruled in a decision that has yet to be made public, but has been confirmed by FOX Business.

By a 5-to-0 bipartisan vote, the FCC said that Dish is the owner of Northstar based on holding an 85% stake in the outfit, and the government has taken back and now legally owns the $3 billion in spectrum.

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