DISH could be giving T-Mobile and Sprint a lifeline in its merger, by spending around $6 billion to buy Boost Mobile and some spectrum that the two are trying to divest to get approval from the Justice Department.
T-Mobile and Sprint have been working with the Justice Department over the past few weeks, to get their approval for the merger. One of the concessions was to sell off Boost Mobile, which has gotten the attention of a number of other companies as potential buyers, like Comast, Charter, Altice and others.
The two have also talked about selling off some of the spectrum that Sprint has, in an effort to help create a fourth wireless carrier – which was another thing that the Justice Department wanted. So it's no surprise that DISH's name has popped up. DISH has popped up in the wireless space over the past decade. It was even in talks with AT&T to buy part of T-Mobile's spectrum back in 2011 when it tried to acquire the Magenta carrier.
DISH was also in talks with Sprint to buy it before SoftBank swooped in. And now, it's looking to finally get into the wireless space, thanks to this merger with T-Mobile and Sprint.
DISH has been accumulating spectrum over the past decade or so, and has yet to do anything with the spectrum. It's also running out of time to actually deploy that spectrum before they get fined by the FCC. So this deal with Sprint could really jumpstart its network. And by buying Boost Mobile, it would instantly get a few million subscribers, and it would also be able to use the New T-Mobile network post-merger. Allowing for a win-win situation for DISH.
For years, DISH CEO Charlie Ergen has been wanting to get into the wireless industry, and now he might finally be able to get into the industry. All of those spectrum purchases the year are finally going to pay off, if this deal doesn't fall through.
T-Mobile and Sprint need DISH to make this $6 billion purchase, to get the DOJ to actually approve of this merger. Which was a pretty tough thing to get approved when it was announced last year. But it has already gotten the approval of the FCC, so the last step is the DOJ. However, several State Attorneys General are filing lawsuits to block this merger. Which could put pressure on the Justice Department to block it instead of approving it.
While $6 billion sounds like a lot, it's pennies compared to what DISH would be getting from Sprint. Boost Mobile is valued at about $4.5 to $5 billion right now, so it's not spending a whole lot on the actual spectrum it would be getting from Sprint. It's also unclear what spectrum Sprint would be selling, but it'll likely be spectrum that won't work with T-Mobile's network. So it could be some mid-band spectrum or even some of the 2.5GHz spectrum, which would help out DISH when it comes to 5G, which is the next-generation mobile network.