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T-Mobile CEO: I'm open to deals with Dish, Sprint

CEO John Legere tells CNET that over the long term he's intrigued by the different combinations.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere at an event in New York.
Lori Grunin/CNET

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said he'd be open to potential combinations with Dish Network or even rival Sprint.

"When I look at the medium to long term, I'm intrigued by Dish's vision," Legere told CNET in an interview Wednesday.

T-Mobile is in the midst of a comeback powered by its "Uncarrier" stance of ripping away old carrier conventions such as service contracts. The company today introduced a new program that would allow customers to upgrade their phones as frequently as twice a year.

Dish Network has been looking to buy both Sprint and Clearwire, but its hopes were dashed when Sprint swallowed up the shares of Clearwire it didn't already own, and shareholders approved a deal for SoftBank to buy Sprint. With Dish still eager to wed its satellite-TV business with a wireless service, the next logical target would be T-Mobile.

Legere said he was interested in some of the capabilities and spectrum that T-Mobile would offer, and that he had a duty to look at any deal on the table that would add value to shareholders.

"Strategically, we look at all options," he said.

Sprint, meanwhile, was another company that interested him. Regulators had long sought a deal between T-Mobile and Sprint as a possible solution to the increasing consolidation of power by AT&T and Verizon Wireless. SoftBank had reportedly looked at T-Mobile as a possible Plan B in case Sprint went to Dish.

Sprint got a lot of shout-outs during T-Mobile's presentation, but nothing flattering. T-Mobile executives mocked the slow rollout of Sprint's 4G LTE network, and noted the slower 3G speeds that most customers were stuck with.

But Legere noted that Sprint's deal with SoftBank could put the company in a powerful position. However, he doesn't see that happening until 2015.

"When we look at the medium to long term, we don't know what the industry structure looks like," he said.