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Dish Network and T-Mobile Eye Merger as Rivals DirecTV and AT&T Await Their Own

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Dish Network and T-Mobile Eye Merger as Rivals DirecTV and AT&T Await Their Own

As other pay-TV mergers face scrutiny, T-Mobile and Dish hope a marriage between a satcaster and wireless company will be more palatable to regulators.

Dish Network is reportedly in talks to purchase T-Mobile. The wireless company has long had a “for sale” sign in the window since its failed attempt to merge with AT&T years ago. While the company, currently owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, often pops up in merger rumors, they generally involve other wireless providers. Dish’s bid for the company appears to be real, rather than just speculation.

While the rest of the pay-TV industry consolidates, it’s interesting that Dish Network has targeted T-Mobile rather than one of many cable providers that have lately appeared to be on the market. Despite the unique arrangement, the two companies could have a lot to offer each other. T-Mobile would give Dish a provider of both cellular service and bandwidth, allowing them to offer unique new bundles of satellite TV service, OTT Sling TV, and wireless phone and broadband. Dish Network’s virtual pay-TV offering, Sling TV, could also benefit from cross promotion with T-Mobile’s wireless customers. The combined company would also control a much larger share of wireless spectrum as well, threatening to create a potent rival to other telecoms.

Dish Network seems to be looking towards a future beyond pay-TV. As video subscribers dwindle for cable and satellite TV providers nationwide, Dish is one of the few companies that has been investing in new offerings geared towards cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Sling TV in particular has been a hit among pay-TV defectors, offering a small bundle of channels at a much lower price point. And even getting into the fierce wireless business would help to make Dish less dependent on pay-TV revenues which are only likely to shrink in the future.

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Kevin Speedy

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