A deal to make satellite TV provider Dish Network the nation’s fourth largest mobile carrier is days away from being finalized — thanks to the Department of Justice, The Post has learned.

Under pressure from DOJ antitrust officials, T-Mobile and Sprint are on track to announce a deal to sell a slew of mobile assets to Dish as soon as next week, two sources with direct knowledge of the talks said.

The deal will include a spectrum-hosting agreement that will give Dish the chance to offer national wireless service within a year of the sale’s closing, sources said.

T-Mobile and its parent company Deutsche Telekom have also agreed to drop their demands that Dish, owned by billionaire Charlie Ergen, not sell more than a 5 percent stake in his company to a potential wireless partner, like Google.

“It’s imminent,” both sources said of the talks, which have been dragging on for months.
T-Mobile and Sprint have been trying to sell the assets to Dish, including Sprint subsidiary Boost Mobile, to gain DOJ approval for their $26 billion merger.

But the talks have stalled due to in part to T-Mobile’s demands that Dish not sell more than a 5 percent stake in itself to a potential wireless partner, like Google.

The DOJ’s antitrust team, led by Makan Delrahim, has been telling T-Mobile and its parent company Deutsche Telekom for weeks to drop the concession, which Delrahim fears would set a dangerous precedent.

It wasn’t until Delrahim threatened to block T-Mobile’s $26 billion acquisition of Sprint that the parties scrambled to get the deal done, sources said.

CNBC first reported Thursday that the DOJ this week told the parties that if they did not reach a deal to sell assets to create a fourth national carrier by the end of next week, the regulator would sue to block the proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger.

“We have a real deal here and it will be very good for Dish,” a source said.

The DOJ won’t bless T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint unless it sells assets to a competitor who can create a new wireless network to replace Sprint.

It will take years — and cost billions — for Dish to build out its own network. In the meantime, it will be able to lease spectrum from T-Mobile.

Dish could also speed up the project by partnering with a deep-pocketed company, like Google or Amazon.

The Post reported last week that Alan Mulally, director of Google parent company Alphabet, has been fielding calls from Ergen about his wireless plans.

Google is not having any conversations with Dish about creating a wireless network,” a Google spokesman said, declining to comment on whether Mulally was speaking to Dish.

Even after the DOJ approves the T-Mobile-Sprint tie-up, the companies will still need to win in court against 14 state Attorney Generals who are suing to block it for fear that it will raise costs for consumers.

Neither T-Mobile, Sprint or the DOJ returned a request for comment.

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