It sounds like Dish Network is going to spend $5 billion on wireless assets from T-Mobile and Sprint, a deal that is expected to move the Justice Department to approve T-Mo and Sprint’s merger. According to a new report, though, Dish isn’t the only company that expressed interest in striking a deal with T-Mobile and Sprint.
Charter Communications reportedly expressed interest in buying assets from T-Mobile and Sprint. According to Reuters, Charter submitted a proposal to the Justice Department about buying assets as part of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, but it never heard back from the government agency.
There aren’t many details known about Charter’s proposal, but it’s said that the cable company requested an auction for T-Mobile and Sprint’s divested assets.
Charter owns Spectrum Mobile, an MVNO that offers service using Verizon’s 4G LTE network as well as its own Wi-Fi hotspots. It’s possible that Charter was interested in buying up some wireless assets from T-Mobile and Sprint to make it into a more formidable competitor in the U.S. wireless market. Rumors have said that the Justice Department wants a fourth competitive U.S. carrier before it approves the T-Mobile-Sprint merger.
T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger has already gotten support from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and rumors have said that the Justice Department will approve the merger as soon as tomorrow. The merger is facing a lawsuit from a group of state attorneys general who say that the deal will harm competition and raise prices for consumers. While the Justice Department’s approval of the merger could weaken the lawsuit, today’s report suggests that the Justice Department not responding to Charter’s inquiry could raise concerns that the agency didn’t give proper consideration to all options before deciding to strike a deal with Dish.