UPDATE DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH) has received support from the Department of Justice (D0J) for more time to purchase low-band 800 MHz spectrum from T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS), according to Seeking Alpha. DISH had asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to grant a 10-month extension on an option to pay $3.59 billion for T-Mobile’s 800 MHz licenses, Inside Towers reported.
For its part, T-Mobile originally agreed to the transaction in order to win approval for the Sprint acquisition, but DISH’s balance sheet has suffered in the meantime. DISH cited the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, supply chain delays and higher interest rates as issues impacting its financial performance and preventing it from meeting the previously set August 30 deadline to complete the deal. T-Mobile balked at DISH’s request for an extension, saying the purchase deadline was already established and agreed to.
The DoJ’s antitrust regulators are now urging the District Court judge to grant DISH until April 1, 2024, to complete the transaction. Some industry observers had commented that DoJ support likely would be forthcoming since that the original intent of the spectrum deal was to boost wireless industry competition.
T-Mobile says carrying that 800 MHz spectrum for another 10 months will cost it nearly $216 million in extra expenses. Moreover, it believes that if DISH fails to raise the money and follow through with the purchase by the extended deadline, those 800 MHz licenses will be worth less than what DISH already agreed to pay, notes Seeking Alpha.