A battle between satellite TV firm Dish Network and AT&T’s HBO could end up as exhibit one in the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to unwind the AT&T-Time Warner merger. HBO (which AT&T inherited in the Time Warner deal) has gone dark on Dish’s satellite service over a dispute about how much Dish would pay to carry HBO. The problem for AT&T is that Dish is a direct competitor to AT&T’s DirecTV satellite service.
During the trial of the DOJ’s initial lawsuit against the AT&T-Time Warner deal, a Dish executive testified that the merger could impact Dish’s business if AT&T withheld its networks, noting that one in five Dish subscribers had HBO. It didn’t take long for Dish’s prediction to come true.
Dish has not reached out to the Department of Justice about the dispute, executives told The Information. But it’s only a matter of time before the DOJ weighs in on this issue to help its case.