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Sprint reportedly asks to partner with Dish

The satellite-TV company may start offering a wireless service, if a deal proposed by Sprint goes through, Bloomberg reports.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam

Dish, the satellite-TV company, may start a mobile-phone service through Sprint Nextel's network, if it goes through with a rumored deal proposed by the wireless carrier, Bloomberg reported today.

Sprint has asked to partner with Dish in order to get access to Dish's currently unused mobile airwaves, unnamed sources told Bloomberg. In exchange, Sprint would let Dish offer its wireless service to its customers. The possible partnership was discussed "in recent months" and would let Dish get into the mobile phone game, something the satellite-TV company has been looking to do, without building its own network.

When reached by CNET, Sprint and Dish both declined to comment.

The new service would go nicely with Dish's other rumored new development:selling smartphones at its Blockbuster stores.

Dish CEO Joe Clayton didn't specifically comment to Bloomberg about any discussions with Sprint, but he did say the company is holding off on any partnership decisions until the Federal Communications Commission rules on Dish's plan to build its own 4G wireless network on its recently purchased wireless airways.

Last month, the FCC chairman said he would approve Dish's request, but the FCC has yet to make a decision. The regulatory agency could make up its mind at its meeting next week.

Sprint isn't the only company interested in Dish's airwaves. Reports of Google and Dish discussing a partnershipsurfaced in October, and earlier this year, AT&T expressed interest in Dish's regulatory process moving forward quickly.