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Dish tipped to spend $6 billion on T-Mobile and Sprint assets, report says

Dish is reportedly nearing a $6 billion buy of Boost Mobile and wireless spectrum, which could push through the T-Mobile and Sprint merger.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read
T-Mobile To Acquire Sprint For $26 Billion

Sprint and T-Mobile could offload Boost and wireless spectrum for $6 billion.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

T-Mobile and Sprint are nearing a $6 billion payday for their assets in a move to gain regulatory approval for their $26.5 billion merger, with satellite TV provider Dish Network the buyer, a report says. The assets reportedly include the Boost Mobile prepaid wireless service and wireless spectrum.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai greenlit the merger in May, on the condition that T-Mobile and Sprint divested Boost Mobile as well as requiring them to build out 5G in rural areas and offer wireless home broadband good enough to substitute fixed-line.

However, it was reported that the US Department of Justice wants T-Mobile and Sprint to form a new wireless carrier. The merger would reduce the number of major carriers from four to three, with Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim wanting four carriers to remain for more competition, according to Bloomberg.

Dish could announce the $6 billion deal later this week, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.

T-Mobile and Sprint are the third- and fourth-largest carriers behind Verizon and AT&T. Should they merge, T-Mobile CEO John Legere would remain in his role.

While the FCC has approved the transaction, the merger still needs approval from the DOJ. Earlier this month, the DOJ was considering halting the deal, and possibly requiring the carriers to divest wireless spectrum or other parts of their businesses. 

It's also possible the DOJ could add more conditions to the deal should those be met.

Amazon was last rumored to be considering buying Boost Mobile so it could use T-Mobile's wireless network for the next six years as part of an attached wholesale deal, while Dish was reportedly also considering a merger with AT&T's DirecTV service.

Dish Network's spectrum holdings -- it has been hoarding spectrum for years but has yet to build out its own satellite network -- could also be a valuable acquisition for AT&T as it rolls out its 5G network. Back in 2017, Dish Network spent $6.2 billion for even more spectrum in the 600MHz band.

T-Mobile and Sprint didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Dish declined to comment.

First published at 1:37 p.m. PT on June 18.
Updated at 4:40 p.m. PT: adds details on merger conditions
Updated on June 19 at 10:44 a.m. PT: adds Dish declining to comment

Watch this: T-Mobile, Sprint make $26B deal to merge