Thursday, June 27, 2013

DISH Folds & Some DISH Options


As the long multi-hand poker game with Sprint, DISH, Softbank and Clearwire dragged on with DISH upping the ante, forcing Sprint and Softbank to push, DISH folded on both deals in the end.

DISH's game to takeover Sprint ended on June 18, 2013 when they withdrew their offer. The press release language implied that they will devote their resources to win Clearwire. It didn't look bad when the Clearwire board recommended DISH's offer back on June 12. 
But with a higher Sprint offer on June 20, the coup de grace came several days later on June 24 when the Clearwire board reversed its DISH recommendation for Sprint's offer.  

DISH folded on its second poker hand with yesterday's June 26 announcement. Many including me, expected another run, upping the ante, given DISH's playing profile but what did it have to gain? Really - nothing.

DISH's Options

The near term scenario is that DISH needs to get service up and running. Any time you're delayed means lost future revenue opportunity. With its core business slipping, there is urgency to get into the mobile space. Given this line of thought, it needs to bury the hatchet with Sprint and move to spectrum hosting.

A long term scenario is that DISH can wait until an alternate hosting provider comes on line. T-Mobile has been bandied about as that partner.  But why not Verizon Wireless and AT&T? Everyone wants access to new spectrum and if the deal is right, anything is possible. 

Regardless of scenario, DISH and a partner(s) need to seed the mobile ecosystem on DISH's bands. Technically, it may not be a stretch. However, the lead times to quickly  create/productize the chipsets and integrate into production hardware (device and infrastructure) are still an issue. Once it joins the mobile service provider club, DISH can upsell its own customers on mobile broadband (either fixed or mobile) and wholesale its capacity.  

Looking ahead, DISH is looking for another game but it may not be poker.