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Dish's Ergen considers bid for T-Mobile if Sprint deal fails

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Dish's Ergen considers bid for T-Mobile if Sprint deal fails
For the last few years, Dish Network Chairman Charles Ergen has wanted to turn Dish into a wireless carrier. Last year, Ergen was shot down twice when Dish was outbid by SoftBank for Sprint, and outbid by Sprint for Clearwire. Many wondered how sincere Ergen was about those two offers since they both were not financed. Ergen also has tried to purchase bankrupt third party network provider LightSquared only to see another party interfere.

But there was some good news earlier this year, when Dish finally won an auction for H-Block spectrum for $1.56 billion. This would make Dish the fifth largest holder of spectrum. At the time, Ergen said that he would let Sprint go after T-Mobile. And while that hasn't changed, the executive has added a bit of information to his game plan. If Sprint's attempt to buy T-Mobile fails, which at this point, is a high probability because of regulators' dislike of the deal, Dish will step in to buy the fourth largest U.S. carrier.

Ergen says that Dish doesn't have the kind of cash to outbid Sprint for T-Mobile, so he would rather sit on the sidelines to see how Sprint makes out. Earlier visits to the FCC and FTC by Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son, and CEO Dan Hesse, went poorly for the nation's third largest carrier, which doesn't bode well for a Sprint-T-Mobile deal. On the other hand, regulators simply adore the possibility of Dish becoming the fifth largest carrier in the U.S. The FCC has already approved Dish's request to use some of its spectrum for satellite transmissions, as a conduit for cellular calls and data.

"I wasn’t a very good poker player but when a bunch of drunken fools were throwing money around occasionally I was able to pick up the pot at the end of the day. My recommendation to our board would probably be let’s see what happens.

Back in April 2013, Ergen made some noise about buying T-Mobile.Obviously, nothing happened. Ergen, who at one time was a pro blackjack player, could be counting cards and is waiting for the deck to be in his favor before making a huge bet. Sprint is supposedly going to make a bid for T-Mobile as soon as next month. If that deal is killed by the FCC and FTC, that is when we could see Dish step in.

source: Bloomberg

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posted on 08 May 2014, 17:50 3

1. palmguy (Posts: 235; Member since: 22 Mar 2011)


Sprint has killed one company in a merger. I would rather Dish take T-Mobile and not Sprint.

posted on 08 May 2014, 18:01 2

3. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3325; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Like Dish would be any better

posted on 08 May 2014, 18:28 1

5. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5610; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


It depends on the terms of the deal. If Dish were to buy T-Mo from D-T and keep everything as it presently is (aka T-Mo management team), T-Mo could end up turning Sprint into the 4th largest carrier by December, 2015.

This scenario has legs, IMO.

posted on 08 May 2014, 19:03 2

8. Dr.Phil (Posts: 897; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


Considering it would mean the top four companies would stay in place, meaning more consumer choice instead of having three main companies to choose from, I would say yes. I would also say it's a yes considering that with Dish it would mean better coverage for T-Mobile users since they would be using satellite airwaves for rural areas. Imagine taking that LTE coverage map and being able to fill it in completely because satellites would be able to fill in the gaps.

Now the trade off I'm sure you're going to receive is that they'll try to offer bundle services where you buy Dish TV and T-Mobile and get a special price which may be a nuisance to those who don't want Dish TV.

posted on 08 May 2014, 20:10 2

9. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2638; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


In reality, cellular data networks don't run on "imagination".

Nor do companies whose only interest is profit use expensive satellite data for cellular data. Not unless they are going to charge people over the top insane prices for data. Say, for example, to pay for an expensive merger that never should have happened.

posted on 09 May 2014, 00:21

13. TheRequiem (Posts: 143; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)


This guy is just so full of wisdom. Dish has 20x20 channels of AWS, which would give Sprint a run for speed king.

posted on 09 May 2014, 01:12

14. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2638; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


There is a big difference between owning some arbitrary block of spectrum and offering good, reliable, fast service to customers. Dish owns mediocre quality bandwidth in the 2000+ Mhz range, just like Sprint. And we can see how well this is working for Sprint:

"As expected, out of the top four major American cellular providers, the data shows that Sprint users have download average speeds of 4.2 Mbps, with users having access to their LTE network 51 percent of the time. This ranks Sprint as the worst carrier in the US when it comes to coverage and speeds when compared to AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon."

http://www.mod-gadget.com/t-mobile-ranked-fastest-4g-lte-network-us-sprint-worst/

posted on 08 May 2014, 17:57 4

2. JunitoNH (Posts: 865; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)


Plus it will keep the field competitive with four carriers.

posted on 08 May 2014, 18:03

4. HASHTAG (Posts: 137; Member since: 31 Jan 2014)


I think dish should go ahead and make a bid right now before Sprint does.

posted on 08 May 2014, 18:30 3

6. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5610; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Then Ergen is in an auction with a smaller wallet. If Son-boy is shut down by the Feds, Ergen has to pay far, far less to get a seat at the table.

posted on 08 May 2014, 18:38 1

7. mturby (Posts: 230; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


go Dish!, show us u could be different from Sprint

posted on 08 May 2014, 20:18 5

10. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2638; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Ergen should buy Domino's Pizza. They can rename the company to "Deep Dish Network".

Imagine the amazing combination of satellite television... and pizza! Through special coupons for Domino's pizza, available only on Deep Dish Network, you can have pizza delivered to your door at remarkable prices. Never again will you have to watch TV without pizza.

Deep Dish Network could even offer great trade-in deals. Turn in your Gear Fit for pizza coupons. Imagine how much less stressful your life will be without some nagging contraption on your arm. Just sit down, tune into Deep Dish Network, grab a slice, and enjoy life.

posted on 08 May 2014, 22:37 1

11. snowgator (Posts: 3199; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Let's take a step back and all accept something: Someone is buying T-Mo. It cannot stand on it's own with it's razor-thin profit levels and network improvements needed. Deutsche Telekom wants out of the US market to focus on it's home turf. They can't just cut bait and run, T-Mo is showing both small profit and subscriber growth. So, there has to be a buyer at some point.

Most everyone is against Sprint owning them. By the time you throw in the different tech (the Nextel merger fiasco on steriods?), the need for an LTE rollout for each network, the debt each has and it sure appears to be a trainwreck of a marriage. I am fine with it not happening.

But then... who? Dish wants this, and has deep enough pockets and resources to make it work. They want them, and they would at least be an independent carrier from the other big three. Lesser of the evils. And.... there is no one else.

posted on 08 May 2014, 23:03

12. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2638; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


Deep Dish should really stay focused on their Domino's merger. And after this is done, Deep Dish should look into acquiring more pizza chains. It's part of their master plan to control the pizza market. I believe the execs at Deep Dish call this long term strategy "Pizza LTE". Soon in many towns there will be no other way to order pizza other than by getting a Deep Dish subscription.

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