Competition watch: AT&T could have Dish Network, EchoStar in acquisition sights

Credit Suisse thinks that AT&T (NYSE: T) would be willing to pay more than $20 billion for Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) and EchoStar Corp. (Nasdaq: SATS) if it could create a wireline-satellite provider with a nationwide footprint and a large swath of valuable spectrum.

Dish Network, of course, is in its own acquisition mode, trying to spend $1 billion for the spectrum assets of bankrupt satellite operator DBSD, a hinge point in the AT&T move, the report said, noting those assets would look good in an AT&T portfolio, the analyst report said.

"The strategic value of spectrum speaks for itself-spectrum is in limited supply," the report said.

AT&T's chief telephone rival in all things wireline and wireless, Verizon (NYSE: VZ), has long had a special relationship with Dish foe DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV). The two have reportedly been testing a satellite-4G wireless system that would tie them even more closely together. Verizon has repeatedly denied that it has any plans to buy DirecTV.

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