Dish agrees to pay $100M to T-Mobile for extension on 800 MHz purchase

Dish and T-Mobile have resolved their dispute over 800 MHz spectrum, with Dish agreeing to pay $100 million now toward the spectrum, in exchange for an extension to buy the spectrum fully.

Dish made an SEC filing yesterday afternoon, saying the two companies entered into an amendment to their License Purchase Agreement, extending the date by which Dish may purchase the 800 MHz spectrum to April 1, 2024.

Dish and T-Mobile have an agreement whereby Dish said it would purchase all of T-Mobile’s 800 MHz spectrum licenses for approximately $3.59 billion by June 30, 2023. The agreement was part of the 2020 deal approved by the Department of Justice (DoJ) in order for T-Mobile to purchase Sprint and allowing Dish to move forward as a fourth facilities-based wireless operator.

However, when Dish was scheduled to purchase the spectrum this summer, it was not in a good liquidity position and asked for an extension.

Presumably, Dish will be on better financial footing by April 1, 2024, thanks to its planned merger with EchoStar, a distribution agreement with Amazon and other device and distribution partnerships.

According to the agreement the two parties reached this week, Dish will make an upfront payment of $100 million to T-Mobile within three business days from the date the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia signs off on their agreement.

The $100 million upfront payment is fully creditable against the purchase price in the event Dish exercises its option to purchase the spectrum from T-Mobile. 

T-Mobile also has the right to pursue an alternative offer between now and April 1, 2024. However, Dish retains the first right to purchase the spectrum before April 1, 2024.

The agreement between the parties has already been approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

New Street Research policy analyst Blair Levin noted a couple of days ago that Dish, T-Mobile and the DoJ filed a motion with the court in which the two adversarial parties essentially agreed that Dish should get a seven-month extension to purchase the 800 MHz spectrum.  

Levin wrote, “We are highly confident the court will take the deal, as courts tend to do when all the parties agree.”