NEW YORK May 1 Dish Network Corp
Chairman Charlie Ergen escalated the war of words with Japan's
SoftBank Corp over the future of U.S. mobile company
Sprint Nextel Corp, saying Sprint's network needed
modernization best performed by English-speaking employees from
a U.S. company.
In an interview on Wednesday with USA Today, the country's
third-largest newspaper, Ergen said Dish's American roots gave
it an operational edge in the bidding war with SoftBank over
"We're offering a higher price, that's just math. We are an
American company and the modernization of Sprint's network will
have to be done from the U.S.," he said.
"You have to climb the towers here and you'll have to have
U.S. employees who speak English. Operations command control
will be in America. That's good for jobs. It doesn't mean that
the other guys are bad. It's just that we have an advantage."
The company later offered a statement after inquiries about
"While we hold SoftBank's management capabilities in high
regard, we believe there are benefits to managing and operating
Dish Sprint domestically," Dish Network said in a written
No comment was immediately available from SoftBank due to a
holiday in Japan.
Ergen's interview came a day after SoftBank President
Masayoshi Son said Dish would cripple Sprint with debt and was
ill-prepared to run a wireless service.
The billionaire Son, who attended high school and university
in California, said there would be no need for SoftBank to
sweeten its $20.1 billion bid, and he dismissed Dish's $25.5
billion offer as "incomplete and illusory."
Yet two prominent Sprint shareholders, Paulson & Co and
Omega Advisors, have publicly said that the Dish offer looks
better than SoftBank's.
Sprint has formed a special committee to consider Dish's