Dish Network

Dish Network has won approval to start using its $9 billion worth of spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission, a move that could shake up the wireless market.

Many companies wanted this spectrum, but Dish won out and will use this slice of the airwaves to bring to life a new LTE wireless service that could compete with Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Or, if Dish wants, it could skip building a new network and sell spectrum rights to other wireless players.

Because the wireless market is challenging, it’s certainly possible Dish could go with option No. 2 and simply sell off the spectrum for many times what it initially paid for it. Dish paid about $2.6 billion for the spectrum by purchasing bankrupt companies TerreStar Networks and DBSD. But the precious spectrum acquired from these deals is now worth more than $9 billion.

Sprint and Google are both reportedly in talks to use the spectrum, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sprint would use it to add more coverage, while Google could use it to make its first foray into wireless service.

While the deal was quite good for Dish, it didn’t get everything it wanted from the FCC. The FCC has put limits on how much power Dish can feasibly use from the spectrum it won. The FCC is limiting it because it doesn’t want the spectrum to interfere with other spectrum it plans to use for a public safety network.

Dish photo via Dave Lindblom/Flickr