Dish Network ups telecom service game, acquires Liberty-Bell Telecom

Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) has made its biggest move yet in furthering its presence in the telecom industry by making a bid to acquire Liberty-Bell Telecom, a Denver-based CLEC. By acquiring Liberty-Bell Telecom, Dish would be armed with a triple-play bundle offering to more effectively compete against cable operators in specific areas without having to establish a third-party reseller agreement.

Right now, Dish resells phone and high-speed Internet service through arrangements it has established with Liberty-Bell and Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR).

"This investment provides an avenue for Dish Network to offer broadband connectivity to residential customers," Marc Lumpkin, a spokesman for Dish, told the Denver Post.

Liberty-Bell Telecom is a relatively small CLEC serving 6,000 residential and 4,000 business customers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah via rented facilities from Qwest (NYSE: Q). However, Liberty-Bell has licenses to offer services in 10 states in addition to applications pending in four other states.

What's not clear about the acquisition is whether Dish Network, which currently has relationships with other telcos such as Frontier, is using the Liberty-Bell acquisition as an foundation to build a larger integrated communications strategy. 

For more:
- The Denver Post has this article

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