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Dish’s Ergen Ready to Bid on T-Mobile if Sprint Deal Falls Through

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 10:27am
Ben Munson

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said T-Mobile would have “strategic interest” to his company if Sprint’s rumored bid for the carrier falls through.

Ergen said Dish doesn’t have the money to outbid Sprint for T-Mobile, or AT&T for DirecTV for that matter, but added that Dish has to be “well positioned so that no matter what happens” and that he thinks “we're there,” according to Seeking Alpha’s transcript.

Reports have suggested Sprint will formally submit a bid for T-Mobile in June. But U.S. regulators haven’t relented it their skepticism of the potential deal, which would disrupt the four-carrier competitive landscape the FCC has praised.

Dish and Ergen have previously expressed interest in buying T-Mobile. As it builds a substantial spectrum portfolio, Dish’s desire to become a wireless provider has to only be growing stronger. But 2013 saw Dish lose out to Sprint in its bid for Clearwire and lose out to SoftBank in its bid for Sprint.

Away from speculating on T-Mobile, Ergen said the FCC’s proposed increase to the spectrum screen, allowing single entities to hold up to 200 MHz, could provide a “roadmap” for future consolidation. Following up on that, Ergen said that from a spectrum screen perspective; AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile could buy Dish or vice versa.

Dish recently paid $1.54 billion for 10 MHz of paired spectrum after winning the FCC’s H Block auction. Following its success in that auction, Dish now hold 54 MHz nationwide. And Dish is looking ahead to the AWS-3 auction the FCC is planning for this fall.

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