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U.S. FCC grants Dish more time to figure out wireless strategy

(Reuters) - The Federal Communications Commission said on Friday that Dish Network Corp (NSQ:DISH) could take more time to build a network using some of the wireless airwaves it has bought.

The FCC sets deadlines and requirements for how - and how quickly - companies have to make use of the radio frequencies they own. The new waiver gives Dish eight years instead of seven to use some of its spectrum, as well as more flexibility on how it can use the airwaves.

In return, Dish plans to invest $1.56 billion in the upcoming auction of so-called H block frequencies, scheduled for January.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen is looking to expand the company beyond the mature pay TV market. He also wants to put to work the billions of dollars in wireless spectrum he's amassed in the past few years.

Dish is exploring a potential bid for telecom company T-Mobile (TMUS.N) in 2014, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Dish had already been granted some flexibility by the FCC in October, but the latest waiver removes more regulatory hurdles for the satellite company's wireless ambitions. As part of the earlier agreement, Dish promised to lower the power in the so-called E block of frequencies that it owns to reduce the possibility of interference with signals sent on nearby frequencies, which are owned by other companies including AT&T (NYS:T).

Dish officials were not immediately available for comment on Friday. The company's shares rose 86 cents, or 1.5 percent to $56.73 in Nasdaq trading.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Alina Selyukh; Editing by Dan Grebler)