Dish chairman says Sprint modernization has to be done from the US

Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen was responding to remarks by SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son

Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen said Wednesday that his is an American company, and the modernization of Sprint Nextel's network will have to be done from the U.S. with operations control in the country, and English speaking staff.

The remarks in an interview to USA Today come after SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son, which has a rival bid for Sprint, took a swing at Dish.

"We're offering a higher price. That's just math," Ergen said in the interview. It's insulting to managers of Sprint to say that the only team that knows how to build a network is in Japan, he added.

Dish, a satellite TV service provider, made a US$25.5 billion bid to acquire Sprint last month. SoftBank in Tokyo announced in October last year that it had reached an agreement to acquire a 70 percent stake in Sprint for $20 billion.

Dish has previously also focused on its advantages as a U.S. company for clinching the Sprint deal. In filings to the Federal Communications Commission, it has argued that its merger proposal was better for U.S. national security than the proposal from SoftBank. It also said that the proposed merger would put more U.S. spectrum than anyone else holds in the hands of a single, foreign-owned company.

Son on Tuesday criticized the offer made by Dish in Englewood, Colorado, claiming it is based on "imaginary" numbers and would create a company with "insane" levels of debt. SoftBank did not plan to increase its bid for Sprint, as it was already offering a better deal than Dish, he said in Tokyo. Dish's proposal includes a large payment in stock, and some of the payment would be delayed for a year, while SoftBank would pay immediately in cash, he added.

Countering claims that Dish was an amateur in the mobile business, Ergen said that Dish grew without previous experience in the satellite business, much the way SoftBank evolved from technology investor to wireless carrier.

Son claimed that as SoftBank and Sprint are both mobile operators, their merger would create one of the largest operators in the world with clout in procurement and other deals. Both companies are rolling out high-speed LTE networks for smartphones, while Dish is in a different business as a satellite provider, he added.

SoftBank received support for its bid earlier this week from chip maker Intel, which described Son's plan to build a high-speed competitive third national network as "very compelling." In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said he preferred that SoftBank rather than Dish acquired Sprint, as competition in the wireless space is needed as the model provided by AT&T and Verizon Wireless is not giving that to consumers at this time.

Sprint has also received clearance from SoftBank to enter into a non-disclosure agreement with Dish to get further information from it regarding its offer. Sprint is, however, barred from disclosing any non-public information to Dish or to negotiate terms for a future deal.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Mergers and acquisitionsbusiness issuestelecommunicationsprint nextelSoftbankCarriersDISH Network

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?