Dish network, the satellite cable provider, is said to be in talks to acquire T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom. Reuters is citing “people close to the matter” in noting that their bid may come sometime next year. It would be Dish’s second attempt at acquiring a mobile carrier outright, and their third at getting into the mobile carrier business.
You may remember in the early days of Softbank’s bid to acquire Sprint, Dish came on strong. To our mind, they had a better offer for shareholders, too. Softbank ended up with Sprint, leaving Dish on the outside looking in. We are also reminded that Dish was, at one time, reportedly working with Google to start service from scratch, operating as an MVNO.
The Google thing may have been a passing fancy, but Sprint was absolutely not. Dish dedicated a website to their efforts, clearly outlining their offer. In the end, Sprint shareholders chose Softbank, but it didn’t end their dance with Dish. Recent reports also put Sprint — or Softbank, depending on how you look at it — as being interested in T-Mobile. Once again, Dish finds itself in a tussle for a mobile carrier with the Japanese company.
On paper, Dish makes a lot more sense. They didn’t just acquire a carrier as Softbank did, and clearly have a plan of attack they feel confident in. They should also be able to nimbly navigate the FCC gauntlet, seeing as they’re not combining two carriers. The FCC has long said they’d prefer to have four major carriers in the US, and Dish’s purchase of T-Mobile would keep it that way.
These are still unfounded rumors, but Dish is obviously interested in putting roots down in mobile. None of the parties involved would comment, but Charlie Ergen, Dish’s CEO, has said the effort would not be to enhance voice or texting services. Dish’s goal is to enhance their video offerings. Dish Hopper for all T-Mobile customers? Count us in.