It seems fitting that the best case that Charlie Ergen and DISH can muster for their bid for Sprint is false patriotism. Softbank they say will be a national security risk. Fitting because Samuel Johnson warned us almost 240 years ago that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel - and Charlie Ergen is a scoundrel.
And the surviving company in Charlie Ergen's example is a highly levered beast called DISH-Sprint. DISH Sprint will be bereft of cash and loaded with debt because the cash part of the offer comes largely from leverage.
DISH is a second-tier satellite provider that lost the battle for quality subscribers to DirecTV. Charlie always had an inferior offer based on low cost - when DirecTV had The Sunday Ticket, and was first to market with high definition and other quality-improving features. The Sunday Ticket was a clear - albeit expensive differentiation - it allowed you to watch your home team NFL game even when you did not live in your home town - a great offer in a country with as much upper-income job mobility as the USA. That combined with relatively poor service and lack-of-speed with high-definition meant that DISH found itself caught in a low average revenue per user (ARPU), low growth world.
The Hopper is a standard personal video recorder (PVR) attached to the satellite receiver - however it records live the whole of prime time television every night. It then allows you to watch the TV with the advertisements removed for you. To quote DISH's website:
Hate commercials? DISH created commercial-free TV so you can save an hour each night! Now you can instantly skip commercials in recorded primetime TV. Only DISH gives you ad-free TV with the Hopper®.
And he is doing it for a reason. He doesn't want anyone looking at DISH (and hence DISH-Sprint) too hard. Because unethical and arguably illegal businesses should trade at a discount - and - dear Sprint shareholders - you should not accept stock in one in exchange for your perfectly good phone company.