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Dish Network offers $25.5B for Sprint Nextel | The Biz Beat

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

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(Updated 5:37 p.m.)

Did ATT and Verizon see this coming?

Dish Network, the satellite TV provider, wants to go into the cellphone business by acquiring Sprint Nextel Corp. in a $25.5 billion cash and stock deal.

Dish has been struggling to grow its subscriber base for satellite TV service, which had 14.1 million customers at the end of last year, compared with DirectTV’s 20 million subscribers.

Sprint is trying to move out of its No. 3 spot among cellphone service providers, especially with the threat of a combination of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS.

Of the nearly 3.8 million metro Atlantans age 18 and older with wireless plans, Sprint ranks No. 5

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