FCC approves Dish's plan for cellphone network

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"These actions will help meet skyrocketing consumer demand and promote private investment, innovation, and competition, while unlocking billions of dollars of value," FCC spokeswoman Tammy Sun said in a statement.

Jeff Blum, Dish's senior vice president and deputy general counsel, said the FCC took an "important step toward facilitating wireless competition and innovation."

"Following a more thorough review of the order and its technical details, Dish will consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers,” he said.

Dish could become the fifth nationwide cell carrier or it could choose to sell the network rights to another company.

Also on Tuesday, the FCC unanimously voted to move ahead with a plan to auction the H block of spectrum, which is adjacent to Dish's holdings.