Dish eyes T-Mobile if AT&T bid fails

Dish Network is considering a partnership with T-Mobile
USA if AT&T is unable to fulfill its bid to take over the fourth U.S.
wireless network.

Dish is serious about its ambitions to get into the
wireless space, but the company first needs to be awarded a wireless license by
the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. It would then have to wait for a
final decision by the U.S. government on the merger between AT&T and
T-Mobile USA before deciding its next move.

“The FCC and the government, if the merger goes
through, is going to dictate and demand a new carrier so there’s a minimum of
four (carriers) and we believe we are going to be one of those and that’s what
our plan is,” Dish Chief Executive Joe Clayton told Reuters.

Dish has spent nearly $3 billion on wireless spectrum and
assets in the last year as it seeks to diversify its business beyond satellite

Dish would still need a wireless partner to take care of
the voice services, which requires wireless infrastructure to be built.

The Judge overseeing the antitrust case regarding the
merger on Monday granted a request by both AT&T and the government for a
postponement of the proceeding until January 18 while AT&T evaluates all
its options, another blow to an already troubled deal.

After two disappointing quarters when it lost hundreds of
thousands of subscribers, Dish Network’s business is poised for a turnaround,
Clayton told Reuters on Monday.

Dish has bought video store chain Blockbuster and
companies with wireless spectrum such as DBSD and TerreStar in recent months.

Ergen has previously said that Dish’s future is not in
the Pay TV business. Clayton said Dish will keep expanding but not abandon its
roots in pay TV.

As well T-Mobile USA, Clayton said Dish would be willing
to consider working with any other wireless partner including Clearwire,
Sprint, LightSquared, MetroPCS and Leap.

Clayton hinted that the deep subscriber losses the
company has seen in past quarters may be over. Dish lost 111,000 subscribers
last quarter and 135,000 subscribers in the third quarter.

In September, Dish unveiled a video streaming service for
its Blockbuster brand, a move to better compete with movie rental giant Netflix
and rival cable and satellite TV providers.

By Team
[email protected]