Dish Network says it's willing to accept a 5 MHz guard band on its AWS spectrum that would protect the H-block from interference.
In a filing with the FCC, Dish said it recognizes that the Commission desires to retain flexibility in the future use of the H-block.
"Dish offered to voluntarily designate the lowest 5 MHz of its uplink spectrum (2000-2005 MHz) as an internal terrestrial guard band, provided that safeguards are adopted to ensure that the remaining 15 MHz of its uplink spectrum (2005-2020 MHz) can be utilized as fully and as quickly as possible for mobile broadband," the company stated in the filing.
Sprint has repeatedly petitioned the FCC to shift Dish Network's AWS-4 band up 5 MHz from 2000-2020 MHz to 2005-2025 MHz so adjacent H-block PCS spectrum can be used for LTE.
Sprint claims that if the FCC were to limit the H-block to only small cell use or air-to-ground communications, it likely would not bid on that spectrum. In the past, Dish has argued that a "full-power" H-block would cause at least 25 percent of its uplink to become unusable, a claim Sprint has said is erroneous.
Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen has been vocal about how any further delays in the FCC's approval process will affect his company's plans to put the spectrum to use.
At the PCIA conference in October, Ergen said he was disappointed at how long it has taken the FCC to act on the matter. Ergen argued that further delays caused by acceptance of Sprint's proposals would hurt Dish's ability to compete with operators like AT&T and Verizon Wireless and said the company may be forced to sell the spectrum if it takes any longer.
Ergen previously told The Wall Street Journal that should the FCC push such limitations on its spectrum, it would likely be a "game-changer" for the company. Ergen has repeatedly said all options are on the table, including bringing a partner into its plans, or even selling its spectrum outright.