Two decades of vacillation within the U.S. pay-TV industry about jumping into wireless telephony is nearing an end, turning up the pressure on traditional carriers like Verizon and AT&T.
The latest signal: disclosure on Friday that Dish Network bid $13 billion for extra wireless spectrum in the just-concluded federal auction. The bid beat Verizon and was second to AT&T.
Also, Cablevision Systems last week unveiled a Wi-Fi-based wireless phone service. That came after The Information reported that Google was prepping a national mobile phone service, which will rely on a mix of Wi-Fi and cellular networks.
The implications of those moves may be limited. Cablevision is a relatively small operator concentrated around New York, and Google is in uncharted territory. Dish has been sitting on spectrum for a while and has hinted it would rather partner than build its own network. (In 2012, Dish also held informal talks with Google about developing a wireless network together.)
What could really shake up the wireless industry is if Comcast enters the market, with or without its hoped-for acquisition of Time Warner Cable.