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DISH's Offer for Clearwire Reflects Complex Landscape

What's more, this now raises questions about Sprint's long-term execution capabilities absent the valuable airwaves of Clearwire. I have no doubt that SoftBank sees Sprint as less attractive. Still, I don't believe that SoftBank will necessarily exit this deal. Sprint (with or without Clearwire) is still the third largest carrier in the U.S. with a significant reach.

There are other considerations here as well. For instance, although DISH owns a sizable portion of wireless spectrum, this alone does not make Clearwire immediately viable, nor does it transform DISH into a wireless-services company. Plus, there's also the Federal Communications Commission that has to preside over DISH's use of its spectrum.

If it sounds as if I'm doubting this deal, that's not the case. But I also don't think DISH's value automatically increases based on a completed transaction for Clearwire and/or MetroPCS (PCS), which DISH was rumored to have been interested in.

DISH still needs to execute. Plus it's not as though AT&T and Verizon have been overwhelming the Street with strong growth.

I don't disagree that they are making money. But the wireless market is mature. And with DISH's margins already trailing DirecTV and Comcast (CMCSA), taking on AT&T and Verizon, both of which have invested significantly in their networks, doesn't sound very exciting.

What remains exciting, however, is Charlie Ergen's leadership and watching all of this maneuvering unfold. The best thing about it -- it's commercial free.

At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Richard Saintvilus is a private investor with an information technology and engineering background and the founder and producer of the investor Web site Saint's Sense. He has been investing and trading for over 15 years. He employs conservative strategies in assessing equities and appraising value while minimizing downside risk. His decisions are based in part on management, growth prospects, return on equity and price-to-earnings as well as macroeconomic factors. He is an investor who seeks opportunities whether on the long or short side and believes in changing positions as information changes.
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