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Dish cries foul over US mergers

Dish Networks's nose appears to be out of joint

US satellite operator Dish Network has submitted an official filing with regulator the FCC, expressing concerns over two of the biggest proposed mergers on the table in the US market at present. Dish wants the pending Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and AT&T and DirecTV deals to go under the microscope.

In it’s filing, Dish said the mergers present “serious competitive concerns for the broadband and video marketplaces and therefore should be denied.“

With regards to the Comcast/Time Warner deal, Dish claims the company will have at least three ‘choke points’ in the broadband pipe where it can harm competing video services: the last mile ‘public internet’ channel to the consumer; the interconnection point; and any managed or specialized service channels, which can act as high speed lanes and squeeze the capacity of the public internet portion of the pipe.

Moreover, the joint entity would be able to exercise its enormous size to leverage programming content in anti-competitive ways, the complainant attests.

The AT&T/DirecTV complaint from Dish is similar in that the company alleges that the pair would also be able to combine their market power to leverage programming content, to the potential detriment of consumers.

“The ability for Dish and other non-dominant players to compete in the broadband and video markets will be impacted by how the Commission responds to the mergers before it,” the company said.

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However, it wasn’t so long ago the shoe might have been on the other foot. It wasn’t long ago that Dish was shouldered out of a plan to buy wireless spectrum owner Clearwire, after Sprint came up with a better offer. Earlier on, T-Mobile USA beat Dish to the punch over MetroPCS.

But more interestingly, an SEC document released by AT&T this week seems to suggest Dish may have been in talks with DirecTV itself. So it would seem the company is actually in favour of mergers, just not those it’s not directly involved in.


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