Report: Dish And T-Mobile Mulling Merger (Again)


Last fall, rumors started swirling that satellite TV company Dish Networks and mobile carrier T-Mobile were eyeing a merger. And now, many months later, it looks like the two companies may indeed be close to a deal.

The Wall Street Journal reports that our latest wave of broadband and media consolidation is on the horizon, as Dish and T-Mobile are “in close agreement” about the details of a merger deal.

Last year after the Dish rumors first surfaced, T-Mobile CEO John Legere protested, saying he was “sick and tired” of everyone speculating on possible buyers for T-Mobile. But by April of this year, Legere was admitting that partnerships between wireless carriers and traditional companies were all but inevitable. At the time, he said, “I’ve always said on consolidation that it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when and how.’ And now I’m gonna add, ‘and who.’”

That question, at least as far as T-Mobile is concerned, appears to be on the verge of an answer.

With the merger between AT&T and DirecTV looking likely to gain approval any day now, it’s not hard to see why Dish would want to merge with a mobile company, nor hard to see why T-Mobile would want to merge with the satellite provider.

The key, as ever, is broadband — in this case, wireless. T-Mobile is growing but still dwarfed by AT&T and Verizon, and has limited resources to use on network expansion. Dish has large swaths of wireless spectrum, but no mobile service to use them with. Put those together, and the merger becomes a natural solution.

According to the WSJ, both sides are in agreement that Dish head Charlie Ergen would become the merged company’s chairman and T-Mobile chief would become the new company’s CEO. The two companies are, however, still hashing out the important part: the money. Specifically, how much, to whom, and in what kind, cash or stock.

Any merger between Dish and T-Mobile would, of course, face scrutiny from the FCC as well as from the Justice Department, just as the seemingly endless wave of mergers before it.

Dish Network in Merger Talks With T-Mobile US [Wall Street Journal]

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