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Dish Signs Internet Pact as Ergen Seeks Wireless Broadband Model

Dish Network Corp., exploring ways to expand beyond its satellite-TV service, will work with rural mobile-phone provider NTelos Holdings Corp. (NTLS) to develop high-speed Internet technology.

The companies signed a letter of intent to work on a wireless equivalent of landline broadband connections, they said today in a statement. The service would cover NTelos’s territory in Virginia, West Virginia and parts of Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky.

The agreement gives Dish’s co-founder and chairman, Charlie Ergen, a way to test technology as he looks for ways to convert his company into a wireless-data provider. Dish is seeking to persuade Sprint Nextel Corp. (S), the third-largest U.S. mobile-phone company, to accept a $25.5 billion takeover offer.

“We believe we can create a service that simultaneously addresses the mobile and in-home requirements of rural residents, with the potential to serve as a model for how we can utilize spectrum more effectively while creating differentiated consumer offerings,” Ergen said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Crayton Harrison in New York at tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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