Rumors of AT&T looking to buy Dish Network, EchoStar launched anew

From the more-things-change-the-more-they-remain-the-same department, news this week that AT&T again may be looking at buying Dish Network and EchoStar.

According to a report from Credit Suisse, Dish Network's efforts to acquire bankrupt satellite operator DBSD and its associated spectrum for $1 billion has stirred AT&T's own acquisition desires. In addition to DBSD, Dish Network parent EchoStar Communications is also attempting to acquire bankrupt satellite company TerreStar Network and, said Credit Suisse, the combination could prove to be too appealing to AT&T for the telco to pass up.

"The strategic value of spectrum, speaks for itself--spectrum is in limited supply," the Credit Suisse report noted. "AT&T has borne painful witness to the impact of rising smartphone penetration on its wireless network."

AT&T could pay up to $20 billion for the two companies despite the continued subscriber losses Dish has suffered and its ongoing patent battle with Tivi.

These aren't the first rumors of an AT&T EchoStar marriage; at the end of 2007, Wall Street was abuzz with rumors that a deal was nigh. Instead, AT&T ended a long--and at one time lucrative--TV partnership with Dish Network to switch to DirecTV. In the days of U-verse's infancy (it was closing in on one million subs), AT&T's best-selling TV service was its pass through of satellite, where it had some two million customers.

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