T-Mobile Merger War: DISH Likely to Beat Sprint

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest communications mergers in Q3 2013.**

Just a week after a report that Sprint was looking into potential regulatory hurdles before making a bid for T-Mobile USA comes news that DISH Network is doing the same.

DISH, you might recall, came up short in attempts to buy both Sprint and Clearwire, the broadband provider, earlier this year. Sprint eventually bought the remaining half of Clearwire that it didn't already own, and SoftBank of Japan bought 70 percent of Sprint in a game of M&A hot potato.

Sources tell Reuters that DISH will go after T-Mobile, America's fourth-largest wireless provider, at some point in 2014. DISH has reportedly been interested in T-Mobile ever since its bid for Sprint fell through. Might a bidding war for the Magenta Network be imminent? If so, DISH would have the regulatory advantage, says Yankee Group senior analyst Rich Karpinski.

“This is hardly a surprising rumor, and if it comes to pass Dish’s bid’s biggest advantage – aside from trumping a competing Sprint offer on price – is that it would likely be viewed more favorably by regulators by keeping a fourth [wireless] player alive in the U.S. market," Karpinski noted. "Perhaps the biggest question is whether this drama will kick off first thing in 2014, or linger for a bit. Either way, it looks like T-Mobile – with a less interested foreign owner in DT than Sprint has in SoftBank – will ultimately end up in play. And it’s likely to happen sooner than later."

Satellite provider DISH has been itching to get into the wireless game for some time now. The company announced earlier this week that it has partnered with Sprint for a fixed-wireless broadband trial in Texas that the companies expect to go nationwide in the coming months.

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