Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen told a New York court Tuesday his company will be ready to compete with the biggest U.S. wireless carriers “from day one” after it acquires assets that will clear the way for the T-Mobile acquisition of Sprint. Ergen spoke during an antitrust trial in New York where state attorneys general are trying to block the transaction, a deal they say will eliminate competition between the two companies.
Ergen is a key witness in T-Mobile and Sprint’s defense of the $26.5 billion deal, claiming that Dish’s plan to become a fourth national wireless carrier should minimize concern their merger will reduce competition.
The states counter that Dish, which will start with nine million customers, can’t replace Sprint, which has some 50 million.
The billionaire told U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero three banks are ready to lend $10 billion to Dish to build its 5G network, Bloomberg reported.
Ergen envisions using the assets he’s getting from Sprint to offer customers lower prices and better services to build the business. He’s buying Sprint’s prepaid brand Boost and wireless spectrum. “Sprint doesn’t want to be in the business. We do,” he said.
Initially, according to Ergen, he’ll be able to use T-Mobile’s network while he builds his own. Ergen called that “unprecedented” and said it prevents T-Mobile from raising prices on Dish for access.
December 19, 2019