Dish Network and T-Mobile US are considering a merger, according to The Wall Street Journal. Discussions are said to be at the "formative stage" and may yet fall through, but the two parties are reportedly in "close agreement" about the big picture. T-Mobile CEO John Legere (above) would be CEO of the new company, with Dish CEO Charlie Ergen as chairman, according to the WSJ's sources.
Although T-Mobile has increased its subscriber count significantly under Legere's "Uncarrier" strategy, it hasn't been able to compete on a larger scale with AT&T or Verizon. The company has been the source of acquisition speculation for some time; Reuters reported interest from Dish in 2013, and all the way back in 2011 former Dish CEO Joseph Clayton said he'd try to buy T-Mobile if AT&T's buyout failed — which, of course, it did.
T-Mobile could boost its capacity, Dish could use its spectrum
Dish is the second-largest satellite TV operator in the US, and has acquired billions of dollars of wireless spectrum without using them on a mobile network. T-Mobile could act as a conduit for this from Dish's perspective, while the carrier would be able to increase its capacity and hopefully attract more customers. Looking forward, Dish would also get the benefit of a growing internet business in the face of declining TV subscriptions.
In April, Legere signalled his willingness to partner with the media industry. "I've always said it's not a matter of if; it's when and how. And now I'm going to add and who," he said. "I think you need to think about the cable industry and players like us as not competitors, but potential partners and alternatives for each other in the future."