Updated from April 28 with additional information.
When satellite TV company Dish Network (DISH) holds its first quarter earnings call on Monday at noon ET, investors will pay close attention to Chairman Charlie Ergen's comments on the outlook for mergers and acquisitions.
The Federal Communications Commission's quiet period for participants in a recent wireless spectrum auction ended on Thursday, meaning companies ranging from Dish to Verizon (VZ) , T-Mobile USA (TMUS) and Comcast (CMCSA) can once again discuss deals and other strategic topics. The companies have been locked out of such discussions for more than a year because talks could have led to collusion on bids.
Ergen has spent billions to acquire mobile licenses, and has pursued acquisitions of both Sprint (S) and T-Mobile in the past. Merging with a carrier or selling its licenses to Verizon would allow Dish to tap value for the spectrum, but telecom and satellite consultant Tim Farrar of TMF Associates suggested that the company could instead start a venture with T-Mobile and Amazon.com (AMZN) that would achieve strategic goals for all three firms and mark a dramatic shift in the wireless industry.
T-Mobile is launching a new phase of networksdfsdfsfction, while Dish has spectrum that it needs to use and is looking for a partner. Meanwhile, Amazon has explored options in wireless before, and has a growing presence in networked devices such as the Echo and in streaming video that would benefit from a connection to a wireless network. Moreover, if Bezos launches a drone delivery force, having a stake in a wireless venture would help to network the devices.
T-Mobile and Dish were the two top bidders in the government's recently concluded sale of wireless spectrum, spending roughly $8 billion and $6.2 billion, respectively. The companies are buying nationwide swaths of 600 MHz spectrum, which is a low frequency. The lower bands of spectrum can transmit for long distances and can penetrate buildings better than other frequencies, which makes them well suited to covering large areas.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere called out Amazon and during his telecom's first-quarter earnings call last Monday.
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