Satellite provider Dish has asked the FCC to put Softbank's acquisition plans with Sprint on hold until the U.S. carrier resolves "significant unresolved contingencies" related to its buyout of Clearwire.
Bloomberg reported Thursday that Dish Network Corp. filed a 12-page Request to Hold Proceeding in Abeyance with the Federal Communications Commission this week over Japanese wireless giant Softbank's plans to acquire Sprint.
Analysts call the fancy-sounding filing a "negotiating tactic" by Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen, who presumably hopes to push Sprint into sharing Clearwire spectrum in case its own counteroffer plans are rebuffed.
According to Dish, Sprint's acquisition by Softbank should be considered "unripe for consideration" given that the carrier has yet to conclude the buyout of its longtime partner.
But there's a catch: Clearwire has already agreed to Sprint's buyout offer of $2.97 per share, despite Dish offering a more generous $3.30 per share.
Clearwire is valuable to all parties involved because of the mobile wireless spectrum that goes along with the acquisition - particularly now that the FCC has already granted Dish Network's own ambitions to jump into the fray.
Ergen aims to compete directly with the top two U.S. carriers - Verizon Wireless and AT&T - but he'll first need to slow third-placed Sprint, who is moving fast to catch up to its mutual rivals.
The FCC previously requested comments on the Softbank plans to be filed by Jan. 28; none of the companies involved have yet to comment on the Dish filing.