Dish tells FCC its Sprint buyout is 'better for national security'

In a filing to the U.S. agency, Dish says it would be "better for American consumers" if it were able to buy the mobile provider instead of Japan's SoftBank.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
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Dish founder and Chairman Charlie Ergen. Screentshot by Dan Farber/CNET

It appears that when Dish wants something it doesn't give up.

After making a surprise bid of $25.5 billion to acquire Sprint on Monday -- which would snatch the mobile provider from the hands of Japan's SoftBank -- Dish submitted a filing to the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday claiming a SoftBank acquisition of Sprint wouldn't be good for U.S. national security.

According to Reuters, Dish requested that the FCC suspend the review of SoftBank's possible buyout of Sprint. In the filing, Dish claimed that Softbank didn't have the "existing in-market infrastructure" and that "Dish's merger proposal is better for American consumers, better for Sprint shareholders, and better for national security than the SoftBank proposal."

This isn't the first time that the feds have gotten involved with the Sprint buyout over national security concerns. In January, the U.S. Justice Department asked the FCC to put off SoftBank's purchase saying it and other agencies need time to review the deal's implications. Dish's newest request with the FCC is basically a underscoring of these same arguments.

Sprint's board of advisors is contemplating Dish's proposal even though the mobile provider had previously agreed to Softbank's $20.1 billion offer to buy 70 percent of the company. According to Reuters, Dish asked the FCC to wait to rule on the merger until Sprint had made a decision.

(CBS, which owns CNET, is in active litigation against Dish over its Hopper digital video recorder.)

CNET contacted Sprint for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.