The high-stakes bidding war for control of the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier is turning into a heated verbal joust.
In an interview with USA TODAY on Wednesday, Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen swung back at Japan's SoftBank, reiterating his stance that his bid to buy Sprint Nextel is financially superior, waving a figurative American flag by questioning SoftBank's ability to grow a U.S. wireless carrier from an ocean away, and predicting that SoftBank will eventually raise its bidding price.
"We're offering a higher price. That's just math," he said. "We are an American company, and the modernization of Sprint's network will have to be done from the U.S. 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."
Last October, wireless carrier SoftBank offered to buy 70% of Sprint Nextel for $20 billion. Eager to diversify into the growing wireless business, Dish, the third-largest U.S. pay-TV service provider, submitted a competing bid last month -- $25.5 billion in cash and stock for all of Sprint Nextel.