Public interest groups ask FCC to keep Dish from selling spectrum

The public interest groups said in the filing that they "welcome the Commission's effort to reallocate fallow Mobile Satellite Spectrum for more fully flexible licensing in a manner that holds the potential to promote wireless industry competition, innovation and consumer welfare.”

But given the value of the spectrum, the groups warned Dish could simply “flip” it to Verizon or AT&T, and said the FCC should impose conditions on the company to prevent that from happening.

The groups urged the FCC to set aside half the spectrum for wholesale leasing or roaming by other carriers.

"Since the Commission is withholding this spectrum from competitive bidding ... there is a compelling public interest in promoting both competition among wireless providers and innovation in the adjacent markets for available on fair and equitable terms," they said.

The groups said the spectrum should be subject to "use it or share it" requirements that would allow other devices to use of the spectrum if Dish doesn't immediately build out its network and the FCC should impose "unjust enrichment" penalties on Dish if it sells any of the spectrum to AT&T or Verizon.

"The unjust enrichment rules ... are particularly appropriate and workable model for a condition ensuring that [Dish] does not use its enormous public subsidy to harm the public by worsening the competitive landscape of an industry that is already consolidating and threatening to become an effective duopoly," they said.