No AT&T, No Problem: Dish Network Open To Partnership With T-Mobile

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It looks like AT&T and T-Mobile aren’t the only ones preparing for all contingencies: Dish Network CEO Joseph Clayton said in an interview with Bloomberg that if the pending merger were to fail, he would consider striking up a partnership with T-Mobile.

Strange move, no? Not necessarily — Dish Network picked up some wireless spectrum on the cheap when they acquired DBSD and Terrestar, both of whom had filed for bankruptcy. Instead of flipping their spectrum for some easy revenue, Clayton says that the company has bigger plans for it.

“We want to use it to create a national wireless network, video, voice and data. We’ve got expertise in satellite-TV, and we will in satellite broadband. The voice part, we’ll need some help with.”

That’s where T-Mobile comes in. Dish would get T-Mobile’s expertise in providing voice services while T-Mobile’s network gets a kick in the pants thanks to Dish’s spectrum holdings. A move like that could definitely give T-Mobile a bit more clout when stacked up to the rest of their national rivals, though how much the balance of power would shift is questionable.

Ever the schemer, Clayton seems to have a plan for every possibility. The company can approach T-Mobile regarding a formal partnership if the AT&T merger doesn’t pan out, but Dish will also be there to snatch up network assets that AT&T and T-Mobile may have to divest in order to get the FCC’s blessing. And, failing that, Clayton is also considering Sprint as a potential network partner.

It wouldn’t be the first time a television service provider has expressed an interest in scooping up assets from a mobile operator — Comcast and Time Warner Cable were eyeing Clearwire up as recently as this past August, though Sprint’s recent sign of commitment to its ailing network partner may have put an end to that.