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

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.

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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