It’s now been more than two months since T-Mobile and Sprint completed their merger, but the whole story of that deal isn’t finished quite yet. That’s because Dish Network still hasn’t purchased Boost Mobile from T-Mo, which was part of an agreement that helped to get the merger approval from the Department of Justice. And now we may know why that purchase hasn’t happened yet.
A new report says that Dish Network co-founder and chairman Charlie Ergen is trying to get in some last-minute demands before actually buying Boost Mobile from T-Mobile. As noted by Bloomberg, Ergen wants all Boost customers to be on the T-Mobile network, trading in their old phones and getting new devices that work on T-Mo.
“We don’t necessarily want to go back and we don’t want to necessarily put people on the Sprint network, and then have to go back and switch them later, and the cost of switching later to T-Mobile network,” Ergen said on a Dish earnings call last month.
Meanwhile, a report from Fox Business claims that Ergen is “balking at the sale price” because the value of assets are declining due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The report goes on to say that T-Mobile is getting frustrated and is considering other possible buyers.
Dish and T-Mobile are facing a July 1 Department of Justice deadline to get their deal done.
When the DOJ approved T-Mobile’s merger of Sprint last year, it did so after Dish had agreed to buy Sprint’s prepaid assets and some spectrum for $5 billion in order to become a fourth major US carrier. That price included $1.4 billion for Sprint’s prepaid business, which Boost is a part of, as well as $3.6 billion for Sprint’s portfolio of nationwide 800MHz spectrum.
That deal also included steps that T-Mobile would take to help Dish hit the ground running as a new carrier. T-Mo and Sprint are supposed to provide Dish with at least 20,000 cell sites and hundreds of retail locations, and T-Mobile must give Dish “robust access” to the T-Mo network for 7 years while Dish builds out its own 5G network.
We often heard about Ergen and how he was a hard negotiator whenever Dish would come up during the T-Mobile-Sprint merger saga, and now it sounds like that’s happening again. There were lots of rumors and plenty of speculation and drama throughout the merger process, so it’s fitting that there’d be a bit more as we approach the deadline of Dish’s purchase of Boost.