Dish reportedly wants FCC spectrum use deadline waived in exchange for buying T-Mobile-Sprint assets

Much of the focus on T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger lately has been on Dish Network and its Chairman Charlie Ergen. Ergen was rumored to be ready to spend $6 billion on assets from T-Mo and Sprint in a move that’d help the merger’s odds of gaining approval from the Department of Justice, but now some say that he’s not close to striking such a deal. Now another report with more info on Ergen’s intentions has come out.

Dish is reportedly seeking a deal that would waive the FCC’s March deadline on Dish to use or lose some spectrum licenses that it bought previously. In exchange, Dish would buy assets from T-Mobile and Sprint including spectrum and subscribers, says Bloomberg. It’s rumored that the DOJ wants T-Mobile and Sprint to help create a fourth competitive U.S. carrier before it’ll approve their merger, and Dish buying up assets from the two carriers would aid in that.

While Dish isn’t the only company that could buy T-Mobile and Sprint’s assets — Comcast, Charter, and Amazon are other possible buyers that’ve been suggested — but Dish has a hoard of spectrum that makes it probably the best option of that group to create a competitive carrier. Dish has been facing pressure from the FCC to use the spectrum it’s amassed or have it taken away, and now it sounds like Dish is using its position as the best option for a fourth U.S. carrier to try and get that pressure taken off.

Rumors have suggested that Dish could spend $6 billion or more to buy assets from T-Mobile and Sprint, but today’s report says a swap deal is also a possibility. In this scenario, Dish would provide some spectrum to T-Mobile and then T-Mo would give Dish access to capacity on its network for wireless service. This would enable Dish to offer cellphone service while also saving it some cash since it wouldn’t have to build a network from scratch.

Yesterday we heard that Ergen is taking his time striking a deal with T-Mobile and Sprint, waiting for what he feels is the best deal for him. Getting the FCC to stop pressuring him to use or lose Dish’s spectrum sounds like the kind of deal he’d be after, so now we’ll just have to wait and see if Dish, T-Mo, Sprint, and the FCC can come to an agreement.

Source: Bloomberg