Dish says it can offer Sprint tech advantages that SoftBank can't
Dish can provide LTE over a rooftop antenna to bolster home broadband services
Computerworld - Dish Network's offer on Monday to buy Sprint for $25.5 billion includes strategic and technology advantages SoftBank doesn't offer in its rival $20 billion bid for a 70% stake in the carrier, the satellite service provider claims.
Whether SoftBank will update its October bid for Sprint is not yet known.
Dish's spectrum holdings and superior technology would help the combined firm better take on the biggest wireless rivals, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said in a call with analysts.
"Dish-Sprint will be a superior company, combining the third largest wireless carrier [Sprint] with third largest pay TV provider," he said, adding that the combined firm could "become maybe number 2 or even number 1."
Sprint, the third largest U.S. wireless carrier with 47.5 million customers, said Monday it is evaluating the Dish offer and wouldn't comment further. Dish has 14.2 million satellite TV customers.
SoftBank could not be reached for comment on the Dish offer.
Dish proposes that a combined firm could offer future customers video, broadband and voice services that function in- and out-of-home.
The main technology difference that Dish can offer Sprint -- and SoftBank can't -- is 45 MHz of wireless spectrum that Dish has spent more than $8 billion acquiring in recent years, Ergen said.
Dish could deliver a rooftop antenna for fixed wireless broadband Internet connections over LTE using the high-power 700 MHz band.
Under the proposal, Dish would also continue to offer video services via satellite using its own satellites and call centers, while providing mobile wireless services through Sprint's existing network, which is now evolving to LTE.
Ergen described the future Broadband Internet market for a Dish-Sprint company as about 35 million homes nationwide where residents could use an outside antenna to connect to advanced LTE antennas.
"With the antenna on the outside of the house, you would get a lot of gain and speed ... [and] it would be very, very economical," Ergen explained. "We don't see this as being a superior product to FIOS or cable modems in densely populated areas."
The 35 million homes cited by Ergen are located in smaller cities with 100,000 or so residents, in the outer ring of bigger cities that are "unserved and underserved ... and are not likely to see competitive broadband opportunities," Ergen said.
Analysts said the proposed fixed broadband strategy for Dish-Sprint makes sense.
"Since Dish was founded in 1980, its customer niche was always the outlying areas and places where cable hadn't run, places like trailer parks and low- to middle-income areas," said Gartner analyst Bill Menezes.
Satellite TV companies have not had much success in offering Internet connections, since satellites can lose connections during heavy storms, he noted.
Menezes said that Dish TV customers would probably need to buy an added outdoor antenna to connect to LTE towers to make the broadband connection work.
Dish officials didn't respond when asked to comment on how the broadband would work, however.
Menezes and Phillip Redman, an analyst at Gartner, said it isn't clear how far SoftBank would be willing to go yo out-bid Dish, or whether Sprint will entertain the Dish bid at all.
Ultimately, Menezes said that the Dish offer may pressure Softbank and Sprint into a partnership with Dish.
"The Dish deal is definitely better for Sprint than SoftBank's in the sense that Sprint could realize huge spectrum gains, while all it it gets from SoftBank is money and new management ideas," Menezes said.
The most affected customers in the deal would be existing Dish customers, Menezes added. "I don't see mobile service customers necessarily flocking to Sprint just because of a Dish tie-in," he said.
Both AT&T and Verizon have had offerings that tied in to Dish and DirecTV before, but they were not a big customer draw.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Studies show Sprint and T-Mobile need to expand U.S. coverage
- Gear Fit: Samsung strikes again with its 'build one of any device' plan
- Nokia Lumia Icon on sale Feb. 20 exclusively at Verizon
- Samsung hints at new UI for upcoming Galaxy S5
- How 'Lenovorola' changes the mobile world
- Google and Samsung grow cozier with patent deal, Motorola sale
- Should Sprint buy T-Mobile?
- iPhone, Samsung smartphone use by U.S. consumers jumps
- A mobile app reality check
- Verizon LTE getting AWS upgrades, even as execs admit to some performance 'hot spots'
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more