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T-Mobile Mending BlackBerry Rift, Sees Possible Dish Collaboration

Bellevue, Wash. — T-Mobile is talking to BlackBerry to return the smartphone brand to the carrier’s portfolio following last year’s public rift.

Separately, the carrier would be happy to talk to Dish to host that company’s network if Dish rolls out service, T-Mobile president/CEO John Legere said during a fourth-quarter financial conference call with analysts.

During the call, Legere revealed that T-Mobile and BlackBerry “are having discussions,” and “we are very optimistic.” Select hard-core T-Mobile and BlackBerry fans “want to see us do something together, he said.

In the U.S., Verizon offers the Z10 and Z30 BlackBerry phones, Sprint offers the Q10, and AT&T on Friday will offer BlackBerry’s latest phones, the Passport and Classic.

Early last year, BlackBerry executive chairman and CEO John Chen slammed T-Mobile for launching a promotion urging BlackBerry users to switch to a competing smartphone. BlackBerry then declined to renew T-Mobile’s license to offer BlackBerry products when it expired last April 25.

Back then, Chen said: “Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary, and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers. We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned.”

In separate comments on Dish’s wireless plans, Legere called a Dish entry into wireless “a great opportunity for the country and possibly T-Mobile.” He didn’t say whether T-Mobile would entertain a merger deal, but he noted that whatever Dish plans, “we are open to all versions of it.” One of those versions could be network sharing. “We would be interested in network sharing,” Legere said.

T-Mobile executive VP/chief technology iffcer Neville Ray pointed out that T-Mobile “could host someone else’s network” and that it “can host equipment very rapidly.”

Dish is under a deadline to begin rolling out Dish service sometime next year.

On other topics, Legere said Federal Communications Comisssion chairman Tom Wheeler’s net-neutrality proposal “as we understand it,” would have no impact on the carrier’s Music Freedom program under which consumers can stream unlimited amounts of music from 27 streaming services without the data counting against their LTE data buckets.

The services include AccuRadio, Black Planet, Grooveshark, Radio Paradise, Rdio and Songza, joining iHeartRadio, iTunesRadio, Pandora, Rhapsody, Samsung Milk, Slacker and Spotify.

The net-neutrality policy is up for an initial vote next Thursday by the FCC.