Analyst Predicts Dish, T-Mobile and Amazon Super Union

If true, this will certainly create one heck of a big communications company.

Dish has been hoovering up spectrum for years, and just nabbed another $6.2 billion in spectrum at the 600 MHz auction. And while there’s a growing consensus on some fronts that Dish boss Charlie Ergen is just spectrum squatting ahead of an inevitable sale, there’s another segment of analysts that believe Dish is on the cusp of a new cross-industry mega-deal that may just ramp up overall wireless competition.

Over at his blog, wireless industry analyst Tim Farrar sees a three-way tie up between T-Mobile, Amazon and Dish as a likely outcome.

According to Farrar, previous talks between Dish, Google and T-Mobile to build an LTE Advanced network have broken down, in part because Google has scaled back its broadband ambitions and has shifted its attention to more experimental wireless options. That may have forced Dish to “A three way partnership between Dish, Amazon and T-Mobile therefore seems to me to be the single most likely deal to emerge in the next few weeks. T-Mobile has emphasized its desire for a rapid build out of its large block of new spectrum, and it could easily include a buildout of DISH s incentive auction spectrum at the same time. Amazon could use the capacity not only for in-home services such as Echo, but also to support other activities such as drone deliveries, while DISH could provide wireless service built around Sling TV, as well as fixed wireless broadband if desired.”

While the most common theory seems to be that Dish will simply sell its spectrum to Verizon and AT&T, Farrar shoots down that theory.

“Verizon and AT&T have their sights set on mmWave spectrum and 5G, so neither seems like a potential buyer of DISH s spectrum, while Comcast appears determined to rely on its MVNO deal with Verizon after only buying 5x5MHz of spectrum in the incentive auction,” he notes.

Of course Ergen has a long-standing reputation as being incredibly difficult to deal with in negotiations, meaning it’s still entirely possible that no deal happens and Dish still cashes out (and Verizon has expressed interest in Dish’s spectrum several times). Most industry players were blocked from communicating as per anti-collusion rules affixed to the recent spectrum auction. But those rules expired yesterday, opening the doors to what’s expected to be a flood of new M&A speculation under Trump, be it a Sprint/T-Mobile merger or some other, broader combination.

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