“Sprint doesn’t change overnight because of SoftBank — it’s still Sprint,” he said. “Sprint transforms overnight with Dish.”
Susan P. Crawford, a law professor at Cardozo School of Law who served as special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation policy, said there were pros and cons to a merger with Dish Networks. A combination with Dish Networks would pose more of a threat to AT&T and Verizon, which account for two-thirds of American wireless subscribers, than a partnership with SoftBank, she said.
But it would also weaken T-Mobile USA, the No. 4 carrier, which has been offering cheaper phone plans to consumers, like its latest contract-free phone plans.
“Right now, we have two giants and two also-rans, and now you’re getting potentially three giants dividing up the American marketplace, with T-Mobile lagging far behind,” she said of the potential Dish-Sprint merger.
It is unclear whether a Dish takeover would change much about Sprint’s wireless service. Chetan Sharma, an independent telecom analyst who is a consultant for carriers, said that the only obvious change for consumers would be at a marketing level, not a technology level. While the bills may be consolidated, it would not be easy to share the benefits of a high-speed Internet connection at home with wireless networks that connect to a phone outside, he said.