updated 01:51 pm EST, Thu December 19, 2013
Report claims discussions occurring between Dish, Deutsche Telekom
Dish Network is still considering an attempt to acquire T-Mobile sometime next year, according to a report. Despite its failure to secure Sprint in the last year, the satellite TV service is still looking towards owning a carrier and offering cellular service, with the potential acquisition attempt seemingly setting up Dish for another battle with Softbank.
Sources of Reuters claim Dish is still mulling over the decision, something that chairman Charlie Ergen said the company was still open to in November. The three sources also state that Dish has started speaking to Deutsche Telekom about a potential acquisition. Considering Dish, T-Mobile, and Deutsche Telekom have declined to comment, and that the report claims the sources were not authorized to speak to the media, it could be a sign that negotiations are underway.
Rumors late last week suggested that Sprint would be preparing to offer more than $20 billion for T-Mobile. While a possibility, it is thought that such a deal would have trouble receiving approval from regulators, as it would in theory leave Americans with three major carriers rather than four, and could be denied over antitrust concerns in a similar way to AT&T's $39 billion bid for T-Mobile in 2011. An acquisition by Dish would most likely receive less scrutiny, as it would in theory maintain the current market's four separate major carriers.
The battle for T-Mobile could end up being a rerun of the competing bids for Sprint, where Softbank offered $21.6 billion and won against Dish's $25.5 billion proposal. Sprint then went on to win over Clearwire's board in a second acquisition with a higher $5-per-share offer compared to Dish's $4.40. Though it would be a similar competition, the possibility for Sprint to be ruled out of the running by regulators can only be helpful to Dish's campaign.