Intel CEO favors SoftBank over Dish for Sprint takeover

Paul Otellini pens a letter to the FCC in support of SoftBank's bid for Sprint, saying the U.S. needs added competition in the wireless space, reports Reuters.

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Intel CEO Paul Otellini. Dan Farber/CNET

Intel CEO Paul Otellini is throwing his weight behind SoftBank in the bidding war for Sprint, according to Reuters.

Otellini sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski giving word that he favored SoftBank, a wireless carrier based in Japan, over Dish for the Sprint takeover offer.

Sprint has been in talks with SoftBank since last October regarding a $20.1 billion offer, but as the deal closing has neared Dish came in with a surprise counter offer of $25.5 billion. If Sprint were to accept SoftBank's bid, the deal would close by the beginning of July.

According to Reuters, Otellini's letter to the FCC said that the idea of SoftBank building a third U.S. wireless network was "very compelling." He also added that there should be more national wireless carrier competition.

"We need this competition in the wireless space as the ATT/Verizon model is not giving that to consumers at this time," Otellini said, according to Reuters.

While Otellini did not explain more about why he supported SoftBank over Dish, an Intel spokesperson told Reuters, "SoftBank is a business partner which is why there was an Otellini visit. His e-mail to the FCC reflects our view that the addition of a third competitor to the market will be beneficial to consumers and SoftBank has a reputation as being a market disruptor which can provide benefits as well."

For its part, Dish has also sent letters to the FCC. Earlier this month, Dish wrote the agency and requested that the FCC suspend the review of SoftBank's possible takeover of Sprint. Dish claimed that such an acquisition wouldn't be good for U.S. national security.

CNET contacted Intel for more information. We'll update the story when we hear back.