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Dish Network spectrum deal looks to lock in T-Mobile-Sprint merger

Expectations are that a deal between Sprint, T-Mobile and Dish Network will be announced within the next 48 hours, whereby Dish would pay around $3.5 billion for wireless spectrum from the two carriers to push through their merger.

Why it matters: In addition to America's mobile market no longer consolidating from four major national carriers to three, this could embolden top U.S. antitrust regulator Makan Delrahim, who looked to be on his heels after being handed his legal hat on the AT&T/Time Warner deal. This comes just as the Justice Department confirmed that it will launch an investigation into the power and behavior of online platforms.

  • Dish also would pay around $1.5 billion for a prepaid mobile business that the merging companies agreed to divest as part of an earlier FCC agreement, and pledge to hold all the acquired assets for at least three years.
  • There had been talk that Amazon had interest in the prepaid business. In general, Amazon just seems to have a tire-kicking fetish.

By the numbers: T-Mobile executives spent $195,000 at the Trump International Hotel after the company agreed to buy Sprint for $26 billion, as disclosed this past March — but DOJ was unswayed by all of those suite stays, let alone the companies' PR strategy of talking up Trump-bait like job growth and 5G leadership.

Between the lines: Elon Musk must be ready to take a flame-thrower to SEC social media regulators, given how John Legere appears to have skated for his misleading — and still available — tweet about DOJ objection to the original deal structure.

Go deeper: 5G is off to a slow start