You don't normally think of Dish Network as a wireless carrier but that could change, if Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski has his way.
Genachowski is proposing to auction off a batch of spectrum that Dish could use to start a wireless service that would compete with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Dish has long had its eye on that spectrum but there is one potential kink.
This would probably be good news to consumers who have long complained of the lack of competition in the wireless market. A consumer sentiment analysis of about 3.5 million comments posted on social media over the last year shows lukewarm feelings for Verizon.
AT&T fares even worse than Verizon, although 3.5 million consumers seemed to have warmer feelings in recent months.
Genachowski wants to require Dish to use lower power levels than usual to minimize the chance of interference with other services. The FCC is expected to vote on the plan before the end of the year.
“Telling us to lower our power levels cripples our ability to enter the business,” Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen told The Washington Post. “We want to enter the wireless business. We have $6 billion more we want to spend on building out this business. But the FCC could make it extremely risky for us.”
Ergen said the FCC has been dragging its feet on Dish's plan for the last 20 months. If it had approved the plan earlier, the new network could have been in place by next year. But now, Ergen says it will be at least 2015 b efore it's up and running.
Genachowski and others have complained that the highly lucrative wireless business is beginning to resemble a duoply -- with AT&T and Verizon hogging six of 10 wireless contracts.
“If approved, these actions will promote competition, investment and innovation, and advance commission efforts to unleash spectrum for mobile broadband to help meet skyrocketing consumer demand, while unlocking billions of dollars of value to the public,” FCC spokesman Neil Grace said.
A little competition would be welcome to consumers like Edward of San Diego, who posted to ConsumerAffairs recently about his experience with Verizon Wireless.
So my Droid burns itself up. They tell me this is normal. Verizon forces you to sign a two-year contract and then do not support the hardware for that period, even if you get an insurance plan. My Droid burned itself up at temperatures of over 230 degrees.
Their solution? For me to pay $700 for a new one because they don't support my model, even though I bought it from them less than a year ago. Verizon is crap. Their customer service is crap.
AT&T Wireless also has more than its share of disgruntled customers. like Jennifer of Reno, who wrote to us recently about what she sees as a decline in AT&T's customer service.
Prior to 2012, AT&T was wonderful. I've been using this company for many years, and before 2012, I use to think they took good care of me. However, something has changed with this company, and now it seems like their customer service is poor and all they want is the mighty dollar. Well, guess what, AT&T. You are not the only providers out there, so reexamine what truly makes AT&T what it is today - your customers! Just remember, without us, there would not be a you.
Not surprisingly, Dish generates quite a bundle of negative reviews itself but the theory is that another large player in the wireless field would generate at least some additional competition in terms of service plans, pricing and network penetration.
In his comments, Genachowski noted that just two years ago, the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger was threatening to reduce the number of competitors in the marketplace. That plan was derailed by frederal regulators but T-Mobile and Metro PCS reached agreement in October to merge their operations, thus creating a stronger player to go up against Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.