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Dish TV Network bids for Sprint Nextel, sets sights on mobile

A Sprint Nextel cell phone store is seen on October 15, 2012 in Miami, Florida.

The Dish TV Network this morning is making a big bid to get into the mobile space. It wants to buy the country’s third largest cellphone carrier Sprint-Nextel for more than $25 billion.

Dish Network is trying to steal Sprint Nextel from the clutches of another bidder: The Japanese telecom giant Softbank.

Dish is upping the price by $5 billion or so. Why? Jeff Silva at Medley Global Advisors says it wants to expand beyond the slow-growing TV business. It faces competition from cable, cellular and Internet streaming. 

"There’s Netflix out there. You’ve got some real headwinds for profits and gaining market share," says Silva.

Dish wants to offer customers everything -- voice, TV, mobile. Thing is, the dominant mobile players are already there. So time matters, and an acquisition takes time.

"Verizon and AT&T are expanding their LTE networks that have faster connections. And by the time it’s done they could have locked down a lot more customers," he says.

If Sprint Nextel doesn’t take this offer, Dish Network is believed to set its sights on other wireless carriers, like Clearwire and T-Mobile.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.
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