‘Tis the season for acquisition rumors, I suppose: Less than a week after reports surfaced that Sprint is mulling acquiring T-Mobile next year, Reuters is claiming Dish Network is mulling its own takeover of the nation’s fourth-largest mobile operator. The piece cites three unnamed sources who claim Dish has already talked to majority owner Deutsche Telekom about a potential deal, setting the stage for a potential bidding war with Sprint.
This certainly comes as no big surprise — Dish has been looking to partner with an established player to help it move into wireless, and it had moved aggressively to acquire Sprint before SoftBank closed its deal. But while a Sprint/T-Mo tie-up would be rife with problems such as network incompatibility and, likely, rejection by federal regulators, an acquisition my Dish makes more sense. Dish has no mobile network, of course, but it continues to pick up spectrum (and that hoarding will almost certainly continue with the H Block spectrum auction next month). And while SoftBank might be inclined to dampen T-Mobile’s inclination toward disruption, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen would likely encourage it. And that could make the nation’s fourth-largest carrier a very dangerous — and consumer-friendly — player.