The Department of Justice (DoJ) has granted an extension to Dish Network for its request for more time to buy 800MHz spectrum from T-Mobile.
Dish has been given seven months to acquire the spectrum, rather than the 10 months that it had requested.
In a September 18 filing with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the DoJ agreed to a modest extension of the deadline for Dish to acquire the spectrum licenses under the Final Judgment, which led to T-Mobile's merger with Sprint.
As part of T-Mobile's merger and acquisition of Sprint in 2020, the operator agreed to sell its 800MHz spectrum to Dish.
"Dish is more likely to succeed as a national carrier if it obtains the 800MHz spectrum that is the subject of the dispute," noted the DoJ in its filing.
"T-Mobile will be free to conduct an auction and begin the process of seeking regulatory approval for the alternative buyer before April 1."
If Dish fails to complete the spectrum purchase by April 1, 2024, it will have to pay T-Mobile a $72 million break-up fee.
Dish Network defended its request for additional time to buy 800MHz spectrum from T-Mobile earlier this month after the latter had hit out at the plans.
Dish requested both the court and the DoJ grant a 10-month extension to exercise its option to buy the spectrum, saying that it needs more time to raise the funds.
Dish argues that refusing to modify the terms of the "Final Judgement" of this agreement would harm the public interest because the spectrum is an important component of its 5G network.
The company has blamed "unprecedented turbulence in the global capital markets" for the delay of its spectrum acquisition.
This prompted T-Mobile to call the request for an extension “unfair to T-Mobile,” and “contrary to the public interest.”
Potential buyers are reportedly lining up to swoop in for the spectrum, including engineering firm Burns & McDonnell.