Verizon Communications has no interest in merging with Dish. At least according to the company’s CFO, Fran Shammo. At a recent Wall Street Journal conference, the CFO was asked if Verizon has any interest in merging with Dish who has plenty of spectrum themselves, Shammo stated “My answer is going to be one word: No.” We’ve heard from some analysts that Verizon might want to snag Dish to get their spectrum and keep out of the hands of their competitors, mainly T-Mobile. But Shammo noted that if the company wanted more spectrum, it could have bought it during the AWS-3 auction.
At that auction, Verizon spent about $10.4 billion for 181 licenses in the AWS-3 auction which covers 192 million POPs. That translates to about 60% of the population in the US. Dish’s designated entity partners bid $13.3 billion altogether. Which will get knocked down to $10 billion when the FCC approves a 25% discount for those entities.
The carrier now has a combination of at least 40MHz of AWS-1 or AWS-3 spectrum in 92 of the top 100 US markets, according to Verizon. Which will help improve the bandwidth of their network, and meet capacity needs as more and more of their network traffic moves over to LTE. Verizon is looking to expand their small cell and distributed antenna system deployment as well. All to enhance capacity on their network. Dish has reportedly been lining up banks to finance them between $10 and $15 billion to acquire T-Mobile US, which the CEO of Deutsche Telekom – T-Mobile’s current majority owner – isn’t in favor of. At least publicly. The latest reports show that the deal would leave Deutsche Telekom with a minority stake in the combined Dish/T-Mobile company.
Now, it’s important to remember that just because Verizon’s CFO says that they aren’t interested in buying Dish, doesn’t mean it’s true. They stated they weren’t interested in buying AOL, yet Verizon did just that. Mostly to bolster their video service that is supposedly coming later this year. Dish would definitely help with their live-streaming video service they are planning. But also the spectrum would help them bolster their network capacity. Seeing as Verizon already has a lot of low-band spectrum and Dish has plenty of mid-band spectrum, which doesn’t have better in-building signal coverage, but does have more bandwidth capacity.