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Will AT&T Buy Dish Network?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (December 21, 2011) -- Well, here we go again. A financial analyst has opined that a large communications company wants to buy Dish Network or DIRECTV. Over the years, similar ideas have been proffered by numerous analysts and pundits (including yours truly), but the only deal that actually got to the altar was DIRECTV's merger with Dish Network a decade ago.

And that deal was killed by federal regulators who said the merger would be anti-competitive.

But today a new buzz can be heard on Wall Street and elsewhere because Christopher King, a
Stifel Nicolaus analyst, says AT&T is now "desperate for spectrum" following its decision to abandon its deal with T-Mobile USA. (The company abandoned the deal because the feds were getting ready to reject it.) And Dish just happens to own spectrum companies TerreStar Networks and DBSD North America.

“Dish and AT&T aren’t direct competitors, and at the end of the day, the government wants to see spectrum used,” King said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “It’s highly unlikely regulators would block two AT&T deals in row.”

Dish Network shares yesterday jumped nine percent on the speculation, although both Dish and AT&T refused to comment on the idea.

AT&T wants more spectrum to offer wireless and other services for the growing number of people who use smartphone and tablets such as the iPad. Rival telco Verizon signed a spectrum deal with four cable companies this month, giving AT&T greater motivation to get its own deal done.

In addition to the spectrum rights, AT&T would get Dish Network's 14 million satellite TV customers and perhaps be able to end its own TV service, called U-Verse.

What do you think? Offer your comments below!

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