Maverick TV is entering a New Wireless Betting

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Charlie Ergen has tried his way into the wireless business. When his competitors had no other choice, the billionaire behind

Dish Network
Corp.

DISH 0.87%

finally he found his way.

John Legere, chief executive of T-Mobile US Inc., asked Mr Ergen in late May after he had been clear that T-Mobile was accepting

Sprint
Corp.

S 7.39%

was in trouble.

Mr Ergen was the most significant corporate critic of the proposed $ 26 billion measure – a merger of three huge cellular companies. But the Colorado maverick run one of the small businesses with the airwaves and know-how to create a new wireless provider that would satisfy the Department of Justice's opposition concerns.

Two major T-Mobile and Sprint attempts to merge over the last five years have failed. Her third attempt was already years old.

Mr Legere, a fiercely known executive called kissing tweets was fun at his competitors, the whole business on the phone. “The Judge has said that we need the fourth carrier. We should talk if you are interested, ”says Mr Ergen.

John Legere, T-Mobile's chief executive, spoke to Marcelo Claure, Sprint's chairman and SoftBank's chief operating officer, before the start of a judiciary subcommittee in March House in Washington, D.C.

Photo:

News Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg

For years, Mr Ergen had telecommunications competitors and federal regulators by spending more than $ 20 billion collecting wireless licenses but never using them. Repeatedly, Mr. Ergen conducted various deals, including Sprint's own purchase, only to prevent the other side. Now it was the only buyer who could build a credible cell phone fourth.

“With four, there is always a person who will become a rabble rouser,” Mr Ergen said in an interview this week in his south office from Denver. “Someone says I don't have enough market share. I only got 9 million subs and I want 10 million. That person will be more aggressive. The man got 100 million, he is just expecting that he keeps them. ”

The dish will be an incredible force in the mature mature mobile phone market as a key test of the significant counter-match agreement announced on Friday between the Department of Justice and the companies. The carefully crafted customer deal 9 months ago from Sprint – its Boost Mobile business and then some – plus the purchase licenses to increase the number of airways that rural areas can coax. It will allow Dish to work on the existing T-Mobile network for seven years and Dish takes his own national service.

Disturbance and Dealing

Under a plan endorsed by the Department of Justice, T-Mobile and Sprint could close the long-sought merger by fitting a dish to build a competitive wireless network.

T-Mobile and Sprint currently use separate frequencies, and often require different cell towers

Ability to dish rents from the new T-Mobile, Create a new carrier to meet customers Mobile Boost and give time to build their own network.

After seven years, Dish runs its own network using spectrum from its previous acquisitions and its own equipment installed on fewer towers.

T-Mobile / Metro / Dish / Boost

Decommissioned or upgraded

T-Mobile and Sprint currently use separate frequencies, and often require different cell towers

After seven years, Dish runs its own network using spectrum from its previous acquisitions and its own equipment installed on fewer towers.

Ability to dish rents from the new T-Mobile, Create a new carrier to meet customers Mobile Boost and give time to build their own network.

T-Mobile / Metro / Dish / Boost

Decommissioned or upgraded

T-Mobile and Sprint currently use separate frequencies, and often require different cell towers

Ability to dish rents from the new T-Mobile, Create a new carrier to meet customers Mobile Boost and give time to build their own network.

After seven years, Dish runs its own network using spectrum from its previous acquisitions and its own equipment installed on fewer towers.

T-Mobile / Metro / Dish / Boost

Decommissioned or upgraded

T-Mobile and Sprint currently use separate frequencies, and often require different cell towers

Ability to dish rents from the new T-Mobile, Create a new carrier to meet customers Mobile Boost and give time to build their own network.

T-Mobile / Metro / Dish / Boost

Decommissioned or upgraded

After seven years, Dish runs its own network using spectrum from its previous acquisitions and its own equipment installed on fewer towers.

He is a former professional poker player and was a member of a black-smo-card card that banned several Las Vegas casinos, which Mr founded. He and his partners pledge their savings, pooling $ 60,000 on 10-foot satellite dishes from the Denver storefront.

He said that his gaming helped to tolerate his business experience – knowing how to “win with bad hands.” More than once, Mr Ergen sent his business plans compared to a “Indiana Jones” film where The hero eliminates a string of fatal threats.

It changed to size dishes of the hub and took cable TV monopolies by reducing prices. Its nationwide service now has 12 million customers and its Dish has a $ 9 billion share control. (The chair is also the largest shareholder in the joint company

EchoStar
Corp.

, which works satellites.) t

The 66-year-old usually has his own rules. It has been made by hotel chambers to share hotel tours and has conducted market research called “Waffle House poll,” on visits around the country and asking customers how they used their phones and at watch on TV.

It is not always clear that his ethos is fruitfully attractive – he drives to the headquarters of Englewood Dish, Colo., With lunch in a brown-paper bag always. Often the billionaire disappears in private jet and he stopped making the employees share hotel rooms on business trips, according to people familiar with the company.

Charlie Ergen, left, co-founded Network Dish with poker friend Jim DeFranco, right, and his wife Cantey Ergen now.

Photo:

Brian Brainerd / Denver Post / Getty Images

Mr Ergen, whose main satellite television service is losing customers, admits that he is starting from behind the cellphone game. But he claims that it gives him an advantage. “Mishmash is their heritage. Their networks are plaid, ”said Mr Ergen, referring to his green-green dress shirt. “We will have a strong color.”

The new Derry network will not be dismissed by the holders.

Verizon Communications
Inc.

there are nearly 120 million mobile phone customers.

AT & T
Inc.

and more than 90 million at each T-Mobile will increase. They are among the largest advertisers in the country. They are continuing their subscribers by offering unlimited data and bundling free subscriptions to services such as HBO and Netflix. All three are already implementing faster 5G services.

“How is a more viable competitor a company with no track record, no wireless customers and unused spectrum?”, Said Matt Wood, a general advocate at the Free Press advocacy group, who opposed the T-Mobile and Sprint deal. in public.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have built up national networks over the years as they have acquired new air route rivals or licenses. T-Mobile spends itself now by integrating network and Sprint customers. The holders updated the equipment hanging on cellular towers and the software behind their services as they moved from 3G connections to 4G technology faster, and now 5G.

It is intended that the dish will succeed with T-Mobile and takes a new 5G network to enable it to function quickly and operate differently. For example, Mr Ergen said, Dish would be able to offer on-demand pricing, such as a smaller charge in the middle of the night. It also intends to target businesses, such as automation, seeking 5G connections.

“We will find somewhere in three years to take 10 years on the other guys,” he said.

A Dish Network field service specialist operates a satellite TV system at a residence in Denver.

Photo:

News Matthew Staver / Bloomberg

The agreement to use a stronger T-Mobile network will allow Dish to attract customers across the cities where Sprint mainly marketed its reinforcement service. It also allows Dish to build its own network in urban areas with many customers and use the T-Mobile network to reach rural areas with fewer customers.

A dish will have to add towers to all these less large and less profitable areas under its agreement with the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice. Mr Ergen estimates that it will cost about $ 10 billion. But it will be able to compete for customers and generate money from its innovative cell business before it has to do so.

Mr Ergen also argues that wireless pricing is broken. He says that carriers have many customers who are paying for unlimited data plans, because cable companies have forced subscribers to pay for large bundles of television channels.

“This is deja vu again for us,” said Mr Ergen. For wireless, it sees Dish customers opportunity to woo which uses less data with lower monthly prices and those who are heavy data users with plans that do not slow down their link.

AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said this week that he was not worried about the likelihood of Dish entering the wireless market. “Our strategy is well baked,” he told analysts on Wednesday. “The strategy is resilient to changes in industry structure.”

Mr Ergen often plays a turbulent role. In 2012, Dish introduced a DVR that allowed consumers to relax easily, which prompted a legal challenge from broadcasters.

He has often been involved in programming fees with channel owners, preventing people from using Dish's service. The company said Friday it stopped transporting 22 regional sports networks owned by the

Walt Disney
Co

over a contract dispute.

The dish has also gone without HBO since November, calling for the final season of “Game of Thrones”. ”Mr Ergen said it was not possible to make a HBO offer, stating that it was a“ refund ”against the 2018 opposition of its AT & T buying company of Time Warner. A HBO spokesman said that the terms he offered to Dish were consistent with those applying to large distributors.

Dish launched one of the first live TV streaming services, Sling TV, in early 2015. With a small channel package and a lower price, it was easy for millions of people to cut their TV bill – even many of Dish's own satellite customers.

But with cellular service, it promised to federal authorities and business partners about what had broken promises. Critics said Mr Ergen was just talking about the licenses issued by the government and waiting for a deeply approved partner to buy it out. In 2015 FCC officers were angry when it won a lot of wireless licenses at a government auction; Offering a $ 3.3 billion discount designed to introduce smaller players into the wireless industry. The FCC subsequently rejected the contested decision. Last year, FCC officials wrote a letter which threatened to return some Dish licenses if it failed to launch a cellular service by March 2020.

T-Mobile Shopping in Miami.

Photo:

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Mr Ergen meets the notion that he is interfering with valuable airways. He said he had exceeded Japan's SoftBank Group in 2013 when he tried to buy Sprint. He was waiting for a catalyst that would enable him to compete with affixed players. The implementation of the new 5G networks is the technological change that can be made.

“Positive programming is really for our shareholders and a positive strategic move because you had to accumulate spectrum to go and compete with these guys, 'he said. “There was no sense to build a 4G network and bent down next year.” T

By the start of 2019, Dish had no wireless customers to discourage government concerns. The forecast also took place for T-Mobile and Sprint. In April, when a team of staff at the Department of Justice told the companies that the negotiation was unlikely to come about because it was structured, staff met at the Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice has pressed the companies to lose many pieces of their business to create a new fourth mobile phone carrier that could enter Sprint's remaining void, flowing customers and struggling to make a profit. .

The department met with representatives of potential partners including cable operators and Altice USA Inc. dish.

Chart Communication
Inc.

and

Comcast
Corp.

, according to people who are familiar with the talks. The dish emerged as a favorite.

Share your ideas

Could Dish face more wireless players? Join the conversation below.

Mr Ergen said his current airway licenses had his park to build a new mobile phone carrier more credible. He said he reached a broad agreement with the Chairman of Mr. Legere and Sprint Marcelo Claure in four weeks in discussion in June.

But the debates continued for another three weeks when the Department of Justice put greater pressure on the merger partners. Government lawyers argued that the restriction arrangement would not allow Dish to sell assets, rather than pure competitors, or get a deeply approved partner after the deal.

The anti-thrust chief of the Department of Justice, Makhar Delharim, was about a gun as government officials to the public. FCC Ajit Pai, a co-administrative administrator of Trump, endorsed the T-Mobile and Sprint deal already and a co-company of democratic state lawyers had filed a law trying to prevent it, saying it would hurt consumers.

The Department of Justice wanted to ensure that the final agreement in court would be maintained if the states challenged it. The companies agreed to wait for the deal to close under a federal court that hears the case later this year.

Mr Ergen will have to pay € 1.4 billion to Sprint customers and $ 3.6 billion in three years to the additional airwaves. T-Mobile will receive most customers and air-sprint sprint and will have the right to buy Dish spectrum. SoftBank Sprint owner gets money out when he fails to enter the cellular market. The Department of Justice receives the fourth finalist.

“I think three years from now on that this transaction will look better than it does this week,” said Mr Ergen. “They are really competing.”

Write Drew FitzGerald at andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com

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