Ergen needs to plot his next move fast, because I don't believe that Wall Street will continue to pay an expensive premium for Dish's stock. The game is far from over, however. Ergen can still go after a mobile company such as T-Mobile ( TMUS), which recently acquired MetroPCS. The thriving mobile broadband market is attractive for Ergen. He desperately wants Dish to build its capablity to offer high-speed Internet, video and voice services to its customers whether they're at home or on the go. T-Mobile does not bring the reach of Sprint, but I don't believe Ergen should ignore it as an option. DirecTV is in the same boat - or in this case - same orbit. It also has to be concerned about the long-term state of the satellite industry - although the company has not been as aggressive as Dish in trying to alter its fate.
These two could even come together in a merger as a "last resort" type of a deal. There is precedent with Sirius XM ( SIRI) when both Sirius and XM operated as the two lone satellite radio companies prior to their merger in 2008. One or both would have been killed off without the merger. The combined company has become more valuable, even in the face of emerging threats like Pandora ( P). I can only speculate about the value that a combined Dish and DirecTV would bring to shareholders, and I'm not convinced that this idea will ever be on the table. But it should be. Weirder things have happened. So for now, while Dish has lost out to SoftBank for Sprint, Ergen has more pieces to play. At the time of publication, the author was long Apple. Follow @saintssenseThis article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.