AT&T Buyout or Not, Dish Wants to Replace T-Mobile as America’s 4th Favorite Wireless Company

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Rick Wilking / REUTERS

Whether or not AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile eventually meets approval of the FCC and goes through, one company is standing in the wings, convinced that it will benefit greatly–and become a new force to be reckoned with in the wireless industry–no matter the outcome. The identity of that company? Dish Network.

According to Dish Chief Executive Joe Clayton, it doesn’t matter whether AT&T ends up with T-Mobile or not: Dish is prepared to take advantage of the situation. He told Reuters that if the FCC quashes the deal, Dish is considering a potential partnership with T-Mobile to enter the wireless space. If the FCC approves the deal, however, they’re willing to go it alone:

The FCC and the government, if the merger goes through, is going to dictate and demand a new carrier so there’s a minimum of four (carriers) and we believe we are going to be one of those and that’s what our plan is.

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Dish has already spent almost $3 million preparing its wireless plan this year, including purchasing wireless spectrum as part of an overall plan to turn around the fortunes of the company. That plan includes expansion away from pay TV as the main revenue generator for the company, with Clayton saying that “the building blocks are already in place to evolve” thanks to recent moves:

We think we are well positioned with the Blockbuster acquisition, plus the wireless spectrum we have, which is almost as much as Sprint and T-Mobile has.

Clayton also predicted strong fourth quarter results for the company, demonstrating that Dish has “turned the corner” following recent heavy subscriber losses.

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Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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