The big T-Mobile merger news of the moment may be the carrier's deal with MetroPCS, but a new rumor claims that T-Mobile's name could soon be attached to another company in another possible merger. Sources speaking to Bloomberg claim that Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen has approached T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom about a potential Dish-T-Mo merger. Ergen's proposal, which is described as "informal," was reportedly made before Deutsche Telekom recently improved its bid for MetroPCS. The tipsters claim that Deutsche Telekom may consider Ergen's offer once the T-Mobile-MetroPCS deal closes, but only after DT is able to verify that it can't do a deal with Sprint.
Dish has been desperately trying to break into the wireless industry as of late. The company was recently given approval by the FCC to use its spectrum for a wireless network, and since then Dish has been busy trying to acquire Clearwire to aid in its efforts. It's looking increasingly likely that Clearwire will be scooped up by Sprint, though, and so a merger with T-Mobile may be Dish's next best bet to break into the wireless business.
Interestingly, Bloomberg's report mentions that Deutsche Telekom would only consider Dish's offer for T-Mobile after it knows that it wouldn't be able to reach an agreement with Sprint. As our pals at TmoNews note, though, a T-Mobile-Sprint deal would have a pretty tough time making it past U.S. regulators because such a merger would eliminate one of the major four U.S. carriers. A Dish-T-Mobile deal would probably be a bit more palatable to the U.S. government, and with a $10 billion war chest at its disposal, Dish certainly has some cash to entice Deutsche Telekom into an agreement. All of this is still very much a rumor at this point, but it's possible that the T-Mobile-MetroPCS deal won't be the only time that we see the words "T-Mobile" and "merger" in the same sentence this year.