DISH, T-Mobile and DOJ Agree to Extension for 800 MHz Spectrum Purchase

UPDATE DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH), T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) have reached a deal whereby DISH gets an extra seven months to buy T-Mobile’s 800 MHz spectrum. The DoJ proposed the solution and now all three have filed that with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. DISH originally sought a 10-month extension and T-Mobile objected, Inside Towers reported.

In the court filing, the parties agreed the deadline for DISH to close on its acquisition of the 800 MHz spectrum is extended to April 1, 2024, contingent on the timely payment by DISH of a nonrefundable $100 million extension fee. The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) automatically dissolves if DISH doesn’t pay the extension fee “in a timely manner” or, the sale of the 800 MHz spectrum licenses has not occurred by April 1, 2024. The LPA does not dissolve if DISH and T-Mobile agree to extend the terms. Any extension must be approved by the United States.  

“If DISH does not purchase the spectrum, except as otherwise provided for in the Final Judgment (including the auction reserve price), T-Mobile must divest it to an alternative purchaser to be determined by auction,” states New Street Research Policy Advisor Blair Levin in a client note. The auction must be conducted within six months of DISH declining to purchase the licenses, or by October 1, 2024, whichever is earlier.

The parties summarized the filing by writing: “Taken together, the proposed modifications to the Final Judgment provide DISH additional time to purchase the spectrum, subject to payment of the Extension Fee, provide T-Mobile with the opportunity to begin auction preparations during the extended option period, and provide certainty to the parties, the public, and the Court that DISH will be entitled to no further extensions for any reason if it does not acquire the spectrum on or before April 1, 2024.”

Levin says NSR is “highly confident” the judge will go along with this proposal, because no one objects, and because courts tend to approve the deal “when all the parties agree.”

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

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