Ergen Makes Bid for LightSquared Spectrum

$2 Billion Bid Has May 31 Cutoff Date

Charlie Ergen is apparently still trying to beef up his wireless spectrum hoard, with reports that the Dish Network chairman and CEO has offered up to $2 billion for wireless frequencies owned by bankrupt broadband provider LightSquared.

According to a Bloomberg News report citing people familiar with the matter, Ergen has given the bankrupt service provider owned by hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone until May 31 to accept the offer.

A spokesman for Ergen confirmed the Bloomberg report but said Dish Network is not involved in the offer.

“This is not a Dish purchase,” the spokesman said. “Charlie is leading an effort to purchase the spectrum.” He had no further comment.

LightSquared filed for bankruptcy protection last year after it hit a snag in its plans for a nationwide ultra-high-speed data network. The company’s wireless frequencies were tentatively approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2011, but that was pulled in 2012 after the agency determined in tests that the service would interfere with Global Positioning Satellite frequencies. The FCC has given LightSquared permission to experiment with sharing frequencies currently used by government weather satellites and weather balloons.

Outgoing FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said earlier this month at an industry conference that he expected LightSquared to eventually win approval for its spectrum.

Dish declined to comment.