It was widely reported July 8th that Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network was in some sort of dialogue with Google over his move on the planned merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. The pair – for a merger to proceed – are required to spin-off Sprint’s Boost Mobile division, and Dish is seen as a possible buyer.
The New York Post was the primary source of the Google rumour, saying that Alan Mulally, a former chief executive at Ford Motor and a current Alphabet/Google director, has recently been in discussions with Ergen’s Dish Network about a plan to create a fourth US telecom player, sources said, and “there was no doubt they are talking”.
Hours later out came the seemingly firm denials: “These claims are simply false. Google is not having any conversations with Dish about creating a wireless network,” a Google spokesman said, declining to comment on whether Mulally was speaking to Dish.
Google already operates a mobile virtual network (Google Fi) with capacity leased from T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular. The logic behind the gossip seems to be that Google could switch – and expand – Fi to Boost Mobile and thus back Dish and Ergen’s huge portfolio of cellular spectrum.
The overall aim is for the US to maintain a 4th national cellular network, and Dish/Boost – with or without Google – could be the answer.
However, still to be explained is overcoming the objections of 13 state attorney generals, plus the city of DC itself, who are all unhappy about the damage to competition across the US.