Dish Isn’t Going to Make a Move on T-Mobile with Sprint and Softbank in the Picture

February 22, 2014 - Written By Eric Abent

It would seem that T-Mobile is the apple of many an eye these days. We’ve had a pretty consistent stream of news and rumors concerning Sprint and Softbank’s potential buyout of the carrier, and today we see Dish Network entering the picture. However, instead of announcing plans to place a bid for T-Mobile, we’re hearing the exact opposite come from chairman and co-founder Charlie Ergen. He says Dish isn’t going to attempt a T-Mobile buyout while Softbank is in the picture, pointing out during a quarterly conference call with reporters that Softbank could easily top any offer Dish is capable of making.

That isn’t just speculation on Ergen’s part, either – once upon a time (meaning last year), Dish considered a merger with Sprint, only to have Softbank come in and purchase a majority stake in the carrier itself. With Softbank rumored to be weighing its options when it comes to a potential T-Mobile buyout, Dish doesn’t seem to be all that interested in throwing its hat into the ring. Dish has considered buying T-Mobile in the past as well, but the company’s interest came at a time when T-Mobile was busy acquiring MetroPCS.

As far as this potential deal with Sprint and Softbank goes, there’s still a bit of confusion as to whether or not Softbank is actually going to make a move. The desire is certainly there, but we’ve heard rumors that both the FCC and the Department of Justice have told Softbank it has a lot of convincing to do before either regulatory body will feel comfortable approving such a merger. Apparently, the FCC likes the fact that there are four major carriers, and is worried that the merger of two of them would decrease competition in the mobile space.

On the other side of the coin, Softbank is expected to make the argument that merging Sprint and T-Mobile would actually allow the two to better compete against the giants that are Verizon and AT&T. In light of the push back from federal regulators, Softbank CEO Masayoshi San is said to be reconsidering the proposed deal, though he has also reportedly claimed that he’ll still attempt to pursue it as long as approval isn’t flat-out impossible. With all of the questions that have yet to be answered, one thing is for sure: Softbank and Sprint won’t have to worry about Dish trying to make a T-Mobile bid of its own.