Dish Chairman ponders T-Mobile bid, if Sprint merger comes to nothing


“I wasn’t a very good poker player but when a bunch of drunken fools were throwing money around occasionally I was able to pick up the pot at the end of the day.”

Those are the words of Dish Chairman, Charlie Ergen, on his approach to the possibility of bidding for T-Mobile or DirecTV. Dish doesn’t “have the kind of money to go outbid Sprint for T-Mobile or outbid AT&T for DirecTV,” he stated. “My recommendation to our board would probably be let’s see what happens.”

And, while comparing Sprint and AT&T to drunken poker players throwing money around won’t win him any friends, there is some sense to his reasoning. Clearly Dish can’t compete, and so if someone buying out DirecTV or T-Mobile is inevitable, they won’t lose anything by waiting. That said, T-Mobile is of “strategic interest” to Dish. At least, according to Ergen, if government regulators block the rumored Sprint/T-Mobile merger.

For me, Ergen’s comments raise one question: If Sprint can has found it tough raising the $29 (approximately) required to fund a buyout of DT’s controlling stake in T-Mobile US, and Dish can’t compete with that, how will it afford a bid if the merger doesn’t go through? Is it hoping that TMUS’ market cap drops following a failed bid, giving them opportunity? Is a merger with Dish even worth thinking about?

Just for the sake of these stories stopping for a while. Wouldn’t it be great if Tim Hoettges came out and said T-Mo wasn’t for sale?

Via: Bloomberg

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  • Verizonthunder

    Read between my fingers dish!

  • vrm

    I am betting that in about a year or so, vodaphone will bid for t-mobile and win.

    DT is coy about who they are discussing with. Probably baiting softbank for breakup fee.

  • Jay J. Blanco

    We love your spectrum btw Dish. So sell us some.

    • princedannyb

      What T-Mobile really needs is low-band spectrum, not aws-4.

  • Whiskers

    Screw Dish and their satellite they rode in on !
    You can kiss No Contract service goodbye if they buy T-Mobile , i

    • xmiro

      uh no, the likelihood of that happening is minimal, especially now that AT&T Next has a big uptake rate by their customers
      The reason why Dish has contracts as well as DirecTV and Comcast is because they give you a discount for the first year of service and DVR, and want to make sure they recoup that, and turn profit

  • 9erHater

    $29 for DT’s stake in T-Mobile? I got that in my wallet.

    • mikkej2k

      I’m guessing $29 billion , maybe?

      • Jay J. Blanco

        I don’t think it’s a good idea to have 29 Billion dollars in your pocket sir

        • thepanttherlady

          Not even if it’s a really big wallet?

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Lol that would be dangerous

        • Willie D

          What if that wallet I have is Google Wallet. Do they take that? HAHA

    • Paul

      I’ll give $30 on my bid. :)

  • bullet7

    I believe the regulators will block any sale, Verizon and Death Star are deep in the pockets of DOJ and FCC and they don’t want a sale. That leaves Deutsche Telekom with building out T-Mobile and that is a win win for T-Mobile customers.

  • Alex Zapata

    Can we just have Dish’s spectrum?

    • xmiro

      $20 billion and it’s yours :)

  • rbaggio

    i rather have dish buy/merge with T-mobile then Sprint.

  • Paul

    They have spectrum, but would it actually benefit us? An article I found; “The spectrum owned by the satellite content provider, 40MHz in the AWS-4 band, isn’t considered the best for cellular transmissions, but is usable.”

    So aside from some kinda useful spectrum, what does Dish have to offer us? Their TV service isn’t good; a leaf on your dish and you miss American Idol. Satellite internet is sketchy. They will also have a controlling part of the shares so they can push to change things from the way they’re progressing and ruin the brand that is rising like a phoenix?
    Hell, they can’t even outbid Sprint as it is.

    Unless Dish comes out and says what they’re game plan is I’m against it.

    • JJCommonSense


    • Adrayven

      Agree. Dish would not be the best match.. and merging for the sake of being bigger isn’t exactly a great motivator. Dish also has some of the worst service support I’ve ever experienced. We’d see TMUS’s support go right back over sea’s.. and their customer base fly away like the wind!

      • KlausWillSeeYouNow

        Really? I have the phone number for the Office of the President… and I never have had to use it. Weird. I respectfully disagree… Dish support is a delight.

      • Paul

        If we want to merge for the sake of being bigger then WE need to buy another CELLULAR company.

    • KlausWillSeeYouNow

      That leaf thing is ludicrous. I used my Dish service with NO problem duing Hurricane Irene, Sandy, and the other ridiculous weather events throughout the year. No problems.

      This isn’t 2002 anymore. Satellite technology is FAR better than what you’re remembering.

    • DirkDigg1er

      I don’t want a bundle cell/ satellite service. If they don’t have enough to outbid Sprint how will they have money for 5g infrastructure cost? What part of Tmo assets are they going to sell off?

  • Jared

    I used to work for Dish Network. Charlie Ergen = Very Cheap Ass! I dont want Dish Network to buy T-Mobile.

    • DirkDigg1er

      Exactly. I fear this would set Tmo back in the long run.

      • Amaury Hernandez

        I agree dish. Treats employees like shit dish is like a cancer. That charlie ergen only pays one employee well and that’s himself.

  • Fr0stTr0n

    Ok seriously, stop trolling us with this buyout and merger crap already. I want news of new tower installation and frequency purchases

    • fsured

      There can’t be news of tower installation or frequency purchases if the company currently is not doing either or news leaks/releases are not trickling out. Slow times in T-Mobile news happened even with David running the site.

  • I think if tmobile just says it wasn’t for sale then interest/stock wouldn’t rise. I hope tmobile stays single and just grow

    • xmiro

      no one is ever not for sale, that’s not a smart business move to make. Ever

  • Aurizen

    I dont understand how T-Mobile will benefit from Dish?

    • Willie D

      Spectrum, but even that is not complementary to T-Mobile in the solid term, it is adjacent to their spectrum, but in blocks that T-Mobile and devices from T-Mobile do not currently support.

      • DirkDigg1er

        Beyond the spectrum, this makes no sense.

        Will Dish be willing to take on the heavy debt burden attached to wireless?

        Tmobile is typically known for good service with its customers and employees; Dish on the other hand is not.

        With Dish focusing on wireless video, will they phase out unlimited data?

  • Willie D

    I’m not sure which is worse, Sprint, a network and company inept to the wireless industry, trends, and innovation, always copying and colluding with AT&T and Verizon to screw the customer over – or – Echostar, a company that once they buy T-Mobile, will still not make enough money to logically run either Dish or T-Mobile. They will have to kill all the UnCarrier moves to turn a profit in the short term, and they likely wont bundle many of Dish features into T-Mobile services unless its with data caps, higher prices, and limited services. Just saying.

  • randian

    Couldn’t they use aggregation to “merge” the spectrum if Dish bought them?

  • KlausWillSeeYouNow


    My avatar is validated again, at last!

    But I see a combined T-Dish as being a very good thing. Ergen is a mastermind – the Legere of the TV industry.

  • Felipe Bigio

    Yeah tmobile should merge with dish, hell yeah.. I’d be better for big magenta,my blessings to them.

    • Amaury Hernandez

      If they merge with dish it would destroy tmobile dish is noted to be the worst company to work for in america.

  • KingCobra

    Well a merger with Dish wouldn’t face any regulatory hurdles. It would easily be approved. The only problem is Dish finding the finances to make a decent bid. TMUS value is only going to continue to increase so the longer the wait, the more money Dish would have to cough up to make a purchase.

    • DirkDigg1er

      I fear this will be the end of T-mobile. I don’t think Ergen understands the cost of operating a wireless network. I don’t see him buying into the Uncarrier strategy for long.

      Dish only typically purchases cash starved companies. I’m interested to know what plans they would have to improve Tmo.

  • kev2684

    Dish’s AWS-4 is clearly attractive but i think if they buyout T-Mobile i’m afraid they’ll start selling data in place of their satellite service then we’ll lose unlimited data for mobile to give way for home internet service. the only upside in this case is probably broader coverage/less death spots in urban areas to cover everyone who wants internet from them.

  • Justin Merithew

    I only know a few people have tried Dish, and their opinion was that it was basically an inferior, more expensive DirecTV. This was a couple years ago and I haven’t heard much about Dish since, but it makes me a bit nervous about them buying Tmo

  • notyourbusiness

    How about no merger? T-Mobile doesn’t need to be associated with Dish.

  • Luke M.

    I would prefer a dish deal over a Sprint deal more competition. Plus if they keep Tmo name and John running wireless side that would rock.

    • josephsinger

      The only way T-Mobile US can keep the name T-Mobile if Dish (or anyone) buys them out is if they choose to license the name similarly to what other carriers such as Orange (originally in France does, but in many other places.)