More Verizon-Dish rumors stir Wall Street with spectrum stash seen as key

Just a few weeks ago, rumors were flying that — in light of the AT&T-DirecTV proposed acquisition and Comcast’s bid for Time Warner Cable — next up at the plate likely was a Verizon-Dish Network tie up. Well, the New York Post is reporting that’s moving forward… sort of.

The Post — which often gets these early rumors right — says that it’s Verizon Wireless making a play for Dish’s wireless spectrum (which I mentioned last month as well).

Quoting an unnamed banker who’s quoting an unnamed Verizon executive — what other kinds of sources are there in these dope stories? — the newspaper says VZ wants the spectrum stash that Dish CEO Charlie Ergen has managed to put together.

Dish owns — some say is squatting on — some 50 MHz of spectrum — that’s estimated to be worth north of $17 billion; and, the company is making noise about picking up more in next year’s auction of another 600 MHz.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam last month squelched the rumors that had the telco buying Dish, saying “I don’t think owning a satellite company is something I’m interested in at this point,” especially after just committing $130 billion to buy Vodafone.

But I don’t believe you’ll likely hear any denials that that VZ is interested in Dish’s spectrum hoard.

The reason? Video, of course. The Post points out that it could be used to increase available bandwidth and improve the quality of streaming video in urban areas. It could also be used to deliver more video anywhere.

Mobile video has become an increasingly important part of the ecosystem. Ooyala’s most recent Global Video Index, for example, showed that more than 21% of all video plays in the first quarter were on mobile devices, a number that’s increased from just 3.4% two years ago.

The Post is saying the companies have talked informally about the spectrum, but it’s likely that pace will pick up.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn