Why Dish Network Is Looking To Buy Sprint And/Or T-Mobile

Dish Network really, really, really wants to start bundling wireless service with its satellite television services. But why? The answer lies in shifting television usage, the Internet and, of course, money.

So how much is Sprint worth, according to Dish?

A nice $25.5 billion. Essentially Dish is trying to outbid Softbank, a Japanese cellular provider with no real American presence, but some hilarious ads starring a dog.

How likely is Dish to win?

Not very. The Softbank deal doesn’t have to go to shareholder vote, and Dish is offering less cash. Shareholders who sell get $4.76 in cash and the remainder in shares of Dish itself. The main advantage Dish has is that it’s sitting on a massive Scrooge McDuck-like pile of money, so it can go dollar for dollar against Softbank.

So, wait, how does T-Mobile figure into this?

T-Mobile is apparently going to be Dish’s rebound girlfriend, once T-Mobile is finished eating MetroPCS. Although T-Mobile might want to see where this whole “no-contracts” and “not-subsidizing-phones” thing goes first.

Has Dish bought cell phone companies before?

Why, yes, but nothing quite this splashy. Dish seems to be abandoning its plan to try and become the fifth major cellphone provider instead of just buying one.

Why is Dish so interested in buying a mobile phone company anyway?

Essentially, because Dish’s business model is dying, and Dish knows it. It’s not a coincidence this big, splashy deal was announced right after it hit the presses that Netflix users collectively stream more than a billion hours every single month. Cable providers can at least fall back on selling you Internet when the massive changes the television industry is undergoing are complete and everything cable does is essentially irrelevant. Dish would be back to selling satellite to farmers in the middle of nowhere.

So basically Dish views itself as in a fight for its life?

Yep. And that should make its pursuit of Sprint very, very interesting.