Dish Network may be the next in line to strike a deal with T-Mobile should the acquisition by AT&T fail. Dish CEO Joe Clayton said in an interview with Reuters that the company is serious about getting into the wireless space but that a few conditions must first be met.
Before anything could happen, the FCC must first issue Dish a wireless license. At that point, it would be a waiting game to see what happens between AT&T and T-Mobile. The judge overseeing that case has granted a request by both parties to postpone the proceedings until January 18, giving AT&T more time to evaluate all options.
According to reports, Dish has spent over $3 billion on wireless spectrum and assets in the last year in preparation to diversity their business beyond pay television. Dish lost nearly 250,000 subscribers in the past two quarters, citing a weak economy as the primary reason.
AT&T withdrew their merger application with T-Mobile in late November just days after the FCC hinted it would not back the planned acquisition. AT&T subsequently recorded a $4 billion charge against earnings this quarter to cover the $3 billion in cash and $1 billion in spectrum licenses it agreed to turn over to Deutsche Telekom if the deal faltered. The company still insists that the deal isn’t dead and they are exploring all options.
Regardless of the outcome, Dish would either need to find a partner or acquire a wireless company to move forward. A deal with other carriers including Clearwire, Sprint, LightSquared, MetroPCS or Leap wasn’t ruled out.