Dish offers $25.5 billion for Sprint

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"The DISH proposal clearly presents Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending SoftBank proposal," Charlie Ergen, the chairman of Dish, said in a statement. "Sprint shareholders will benefit from a higher price with more cash while also creating the opportunity to participate more meaningfully in a combined DISH/Sprint with a significantly-enhanced strategic position and substantial synergies that are not attainable through the pending SoftBank proposal."

He said the combined company would offer customers bundled home video, broadband Internet and voice services. 

In a statement, Sprint said it would carefully consider the offer.

Dish had been planning to launch its own cellphone network and received regulatory approval last year to use blocks of frequencies for cellphone signals.

Earlier this year, Dish made an informal offer to buy wireless network Clearwire, which had already agreed to sell itself to Sprint.

— Updated at 10:48 a.m.