US Satellite TV provider and aspiring wireless player Dish outlined plans to use its spectrum assets to roll out a narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network by March 2020.

In a filing to the FCC, the company said using its acquired spectrum in the AWS-4 Band and lower 700MHz block to construct an LTE network would duplicate services offered by rivals, and it would instead focus efforts on supporting next generation applications.

FCC rules give the company two options to use its spectrum. It must either use a proportion of its allocation by end of the month, and agree to complete network roll out by March 2021, or meet an accelerated roll out target for a completed network by 2020. Dish opted for the second alternative.

In its filing, Dish said: “We do not believe that it serves the public interest or makes business sense to build out a 4G/LTE network now that would duplicate networks already offered by the wireless incumbents, and subsequently require an almost immediate upgrade in order to be competitive. Instead, Dish plans to deploy a 5G-capable network, focused on supporting IoT – the first to be deployed in these bands anywhere in the world.”

Dish intends to use the 3GPP’s NB-IoT standards, which it said will enable it to bring innovative services to the market and cover ten-times the area per tower it would have been able to using LTE technology (albeit at much lower data rates).

The next stage of its process will be to work with vendors and partners to select equipment and define its service offerings.

In its statement, Dish added: “The company has spent years acquiring and standardising its spectrum assets to ready itself to meet this challenge” of rolling out its network.

“The wireless industry is in the midst of a technological paradigm shift from legacy technology to a connected world, driven by 5G and IoT. Dish plans to meet the Accelerated Final Milestone for the Spectrum Licenses by March 2020 with an efficient and innovative network focused on these new technologies.”