updated 09:55 am EST, Wed January 18, 2012
Dish hints willingness to talk carrier deals
Dish in responses to speculation has said it's open to deals that might see a carrier deal. CEO Joe Clayton disclosed to Bloomberg late last week that the company "could be acquired or... could be the acquirer" and was willing to entertain options. While a spokesman wouldn't address speculation about carrier acqusitions, Clayton had previously remarked that Dish would be willing to talk to T-Mobile and possibly other carriers.
Industry analyst groups, such as Stifel Nicolaus & Co., are suggesting that AT&T may be the most likely to make an acquisition. Along with dovetailing TV businesses, AT&T could use a Dish deal as a consolation for having to give up its T-Mobile takeover attempt. Dish has spectrum it bought from failed satellite providers DBSD and TerreStar that could theoretically extend AT&T's capacity in a less controversial method.
AT&T has fewer choices now than it did before and is seen by some as having wasted opportunities. Verizon bought unused cable company wireless that could have helped AT&T's new LTE network at a fraction of the price of the once-proposed $39 billion T-Mobile deal.
Some overlap would exist in having satellite TV at the same time as it had its IP-based U-verse service, but Dish may want to press for a deal with AT&T, T-Mobile, or others simply through timing. The importance of spectrum is at an all-time high and could see Dish willing to drop independent plans if it can fetch a premium.