Dish's stock has slipped 1.4% in 2015 as Ergen has balked at spelling out what he plans to do with the billions of dollars in wireless spectrum Dish acquired through acquisitions, auctions and tax loopholes. Even talk of a merger with T-Mobile US (TMUS), has failed to ease investor frustrations with a company whose immediate plans remain a mystery.
"Dish needs to do something," said Jeff Kagan, an independent media analyst. "If Dish doesn't make use of this spectrum, I'm sure every wireless carrier would love to sink their teeth into it."
For much of the past three years, Dish has been aggressively buying wireless spectrum, both to expand its satellite network and attract a wireless carrier partner. T-Mobile executives, eager for more spectrum to better compete nationally with Verizon (VZ), AT&T and Sprint (S), have reportedly spoke with Ergen about a possible merger, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Ergen has made clear that he wants to be able to offer consumers a quadruple play of Internet, pay-TV, mobile and phone. But whether any wireless carrier wants to pair up with Ergen is less certain, let alone T-Mobile's John Legere CEO, an equally independent-minded executive. Dish has entered into merger discussions in the past, only to see those talks fail to reach a deal.