Apple iPhone 14 support for Band 70 a ‘big win’ for Dish: analysts

Between Band 70 support and eSIM, Dish Network appears to be on the winning end of new Apple iPhone 14 features.

Regarding Band 70, “this is a big win for the Dish ecosystem and should enable it to at least attempt to ramp its subscriber base,” wrote LightShed Partners analysts Walter Piecyk and Joe Galone in a blog post.

We thought Band 70 had zero chance of being included in the iPhone this year,” they said, adding that typically, Samsung is first to add new spectrum bands to its devices. Band 70 wasn’t even included in the Motorola Edge+ model Dish offered at launch, they noted.

Indeed, during Dish’s first-quarter conference call, executives explained some of the complications they encountered with Band 70, which is actually several bands in one. At that time, Dish Wireless President John Swieringa said Dish expected to be able to start launching commercially with Band 70 devices in late Q3 2022, and that’s when they’d really start “hitting the gas” in terms of loading retail subscribers on the network.

In a statement, Dish acknowledged Apple’s inclusion of band n70 in its new iPhone 14 but was non-committal about exactly when it will be activated on Dish’s network.

DISH views the inclusion of n70 in the latest iPhone as a positive development and a sign that support for the fourth largest carrier in the U.S. continues to grow,” the company stated. “We expect additional devices equipped with n70 will become available through the end of the year.

Band 70 comprises 40 MHz, combining 20 MHz of AWS-4 Downlink, 5 MHz of PCS H-Block downlink, and 15 MHz of AWS-3 uplink, noted New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin in a note for investors on Wednesday. 

It is a critical piece of the network Dish is building, representing over 40% of its spectrum holdings beneath 3 GHz,” he said.

It’s not clear whether the band has been certified for use by Apple just yet, so this might not be the final step for the band’s usability, he added.  

Regardless, this is a huge step forward for the company, as millions of devices with Band 70 will be sold over the next few quarters. Even if it takes another year for the band to be enabled, when it is enabled, there will be millions of iPhones in circulation capable of using it,” Chaplin said.

The new iPhone also includes 5G versions of bands 14 and 26, he said. Band 14 correlates to AT&T’s FirstNet band, and Band 26 is the Sprint SMR/800 MHz spectrum. “AT&T’s will be useful for the company in its 5G efforts. Band 26 would be useful for Dish if the company ends up acquiring it,” he said.

The LightShed analysts also noted that Dish owns other spectrum, already supported in legacy iPhone models.