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Intel CEO backs SoftBank's bid for Sprint over Dish's offer

Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel Corporation, arrives to give a keynote address during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics
Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel Corporation, arrives to give a keynote address during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics

(Reuters) - Intel Corp Chief Executive Paul Otellini said in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission that he supports SoftBank's bid for Sprint Nextel Corp, rather than Dish Network's counter offer.

Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. wireless service provider, is considering a $25.5 billion bid from Dish but has also said it is on track to close its $20.1 billion pact with SoftBank by July 1.

In his letter addressed to the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that was made available to Reuters, Otellini said he is travelling in Asia, has met with SoftBank Chief Masayoshi Son and that Son's vision to build a high-speed competitive third national network "is very compelling".

"We need this competition in the wireless space as the ATT/Verizon model is not giving that to consumers at this time," Otellini said.

Otellini did not elaborate further as to why he favors SoftBank's bid for Sprint.

"SoftBank is a business partner which is why there was an Otellini visit. His email to the FCC reflects our view that the addition of a third competitor to the market will be beneficial to consumers and SoftBank has a reputation as being a market disrupter which can provide benefits as well," an Intel spokesman told Reuters.

Sprint said on Monday that SoftBank has waived some terms of their agreement so that Sprint can seek more information from Dish.

Sprint has set June 12 as the tentative date for a special meeting for shareholders to vote on its proposed deal with SoftBank.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore and Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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