Dish chairman Charlie Ergen is reportedly in talks with U.S. regulators and T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom (DT) about a deal that would see Dish become a competitive fourth U.S. wireless carrier.
According to CNBC, the talks revolve around Dish using the “new T-Mobile”’s network to host its spectrum until they can complete their own network. The parties maybe trying to determine how long Dish would be able to use the network and the terms of a revenue-sharing deal. Dish is also expected to buy Boost Mobile and spectrum from T-Mobile and Sprint.
The report also notes that Dish may have an edge in the discussions because it would pose less of a threat to the new T-Mobile than other companies. DT and SoftBank aren’t concerned about Dish because they know Dish will only use the new T-Mo network for a set amount of time and because the cost of building out a new network could keep Dish at bay for a while.
Dish has a large collection of spectrum, and the FCC has been pressuring Dish to use it. In 2013, Dish promised the FCC that it would provide broadband coverage to 70% of the population in the markets that are covered by that spectrum by March 2020. However, Dish has been planning to build a narrowband network for IoT use with that spectrum rather than making an actual wireless competitor. Rumors have said that Dish’s Ergen wants the FCC to eliminate that March 2020 deadline in exchange for buying T-Mo and Sprint’s assets.
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