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Mobile Video

Dish's Sprint Play: Broadband Everywhere

Wireless, video and broadband in the home and outdoors, on one bill -- that's the thrust behind Dish Networks L.L.C's $25.5 billion bid to merge with Sprint Nextel Inc. (See Dish Bids $25.5B for Sprint.) The satellite operator, which has made no secret of its wireless ambitions, took a giant leap in that direction Monday morning with a bid to supplant Japan's SoftBank Mobile as Sprint's merger partner. (See Softbank to Pay $20B for 70% Sprint Stake.) "Combining the third largest pay TV operator and the third largest mobile operator gives us the chance to become number two or maybe number one," explained Dish CEO Charlie Ergen on a conference call discussing the proposal. Amidst several Seinfeld references, the CEO said the benefit for the American consumer of the combined entity would be to have TV, wireless and broadband all on one bill, covering services inside and outside the home. What Dish brings to the party for Sprint is more spectrum: It has has AWS-4 (40MHz) and 700Mhz spectrum to add to Sprint's PCS and 2.6GHz holdings. Ergen claimed it would give the new entity double the bandwidth holdings of even its largest rivals. Ergen also claimed that Dish's advantage over SoftBank is that it, as a U.S. company, wouldn't have to undergo the foreign ownership review that the Justice department is currently undertaking with SoftBank. (See DoJ Could Stall Sprint-SoftBank Deal.) Asked what would happen if SoftBank revised its bid for Sprint in light of the Dish offer, Ergen said: "Then it would just end up as a two-part Seinfeld show -- they had a few of those, didn't they?" The Sprint board has just announced that it will evaluate the unsolicited Dish offer. Dish also still has an offer out to grab a stake in Sprint's WiMax partner, Clearwire Corp. (See Dish Puts In Rival Bid for Clearwire.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joanengebretson 4/18/2013 | 2:09:18 PM
re: Dish's Sprint Play: Broadband Everywhere In talking about its plans for Sprint, Dish said it would deploy mobile broadcast TV using its own 700 MHz spectrum. The idea would be to minimize the amount of bandwidth consumed by video. Seems like a good idea -- and one that Dish could still pursue even if the Sprint deal falls through. Seems like it's a capability that would be of interest to other mobile operators, too -- either as a service or through some sort of purchase. Could be similar to Qualcomm Flo in principle but a lot has changed since Flo was offered -- increased mobile video use, the rise of the tablet, etc.
GeorgeSmith1 4/16/2013 | 4:42:30 PM
re: Dish's Sprint Play: Broadband Everywhere Waste of money. All Charlie really has to do is setup an MVNO. Even WalMart has their own private-label service. All Fish would have to do is negotiate a rate for service.

The biggest issue is that Sprint doesn't own many capital assets.

Most likely, the FCC would also require divestiture of spectrum assets. Clearwire and Sprint together, already have as much spectrum as AT&T/Verizon combined in some areas. Charlie's spectrum is likely to be sold to AT&T.

The biggest issue though, is during 2005-ish timeframe, Sprint Finance gurus decided to sell the network and capital assets to Sweden-based Ericsson. Now, Clearwire works with Ericsson too. All this resulted in a serious write-down of assets within the industry. Today, Sprint's brands (including Virgin, Boost, and others) trade for $3-4 per share on the stock market. Those shares were $20-30 prior to this deal, and write down of assets they sold.
craigleddy 4/16/2013 | 12:59:28 PM
re: Dish's Sprint Play: Broadband Everywhere Charlie deserves a little credit for promoting the TV/broadband/wireless vision, but it's highly improbable that he can pull this off. This article summarizes the many complications facing Dish: http://qz.com/74381/sprint-is-...
186k 4/16/2013 | 9:16:32 AM
re: Dish's Sprint Play: Broadband Everywhere "TV, wireless and broadband all on one bill"...but how do they actually provide the broadband piece? Sprint doesn't have local access assets and wireless broadband to the home doesn't cut it at scale and after the acquisition they'll be so indebted that there's no chance of adopting Google Fibre-type approach. Do Ergen's $25bn plans actually stack up?
chuckj 4/16/2013 | 2:17:52 AM
re: Dish's Sprint Play: Broadband Everywhere This is probably the only way we are going to see real time TV broadcast over the internet. -á
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