Dish, Sprint Merger Could Do Something Brand New to Video
But, of course, it's the party itself—the completion of the Seinfeld episode—that Dish is after, and how it sees it ending is with consumers able to enjoy streaming video and first-class wireless service in their homes, as well as anywhere else they go, thanks to a wireless broadband superhighway created by the combination of Dish, Sprint and Clearwire spectrum. Ergen explained: "AT&T and Verizon have two four-lane highways, but they are very congested. Sprint has a two-lane highway today that's very congested. But when you add ... the Clearwire spectrum, you end up with an eight-lane highway that's ... very lightly congested. That's going to be a tremendous strategic advantage in the marketplace going forward, if you believe that data usage is going to continue to grow." (Ergen, earlier in the call, said that Cisco has reported data use is growing at a compound annual rate of 50 to 60 percent, but that some people think 80 to 90 percent is more likely.) Ergen continued: "This is a continual theme, what we're going to make. ... You want to be in your home with video, broadband and data, and voice, and you want to be outside your home with those same things. And while the cable industry does a really good job in your home, and the current wireless industry does a really good job outside your home, there's really no one company on a national scale that puts it all together. The new Dish-Sprint will do that.""We envision using a rooftop antenna, which not only increases the throughput based on the [bandwidth] gain, but also increases the size of the cell radius, thereby getting more capital efficiency out of the tower build and being able to provide service to more customers," said Ergen. As for Softbank, Ergen isn't worried about it. If Sprint backs out, Softbank will get a $600 million breakup fee that Ergen said Dish is "more than willing to pay." However, should the Seinfeld episode end with Softbank getting Sprint, Ergen suggested there are always other options to pursue. "We'll just end up with a two-part episode; they had a few of those. ... It will be an hour-long show instead of a half-hour show," he jested. "We'll cross that bridge if we get to it."
A Dish-Sprint would also be able to extend broadband services to underserved areas of the country and improve spectrum efficiency. Dish already has technicians on rooftops in every county in the United States.