Dish Says It’s Set To Be Next Big Wireless Co.

Dish says it will combine $5 billion in assets being spun off from the Sprint-T-Mobile merger with its own vast reserves of wireless spectrum to compete head-on with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint-T-Mobile. "We've been here before," said Dish CEO Charlie Ergen. "When we entered pay-TV with the launch of our first satellite in 1995, we faced entrenched cable monopolies, and our direct competitor was owned by one of the largest industrial corporations in the world."

With $5 billion worth of assets being spun off from the pending merger of Sprint and T-Mobile, Dish Network said today it will enter the wireless market as the fourth nationwide facilities-based network competitor.

To win the approval of the Justice Department for their deal, Sprint and T-Mobile agreed to a settlement under which Dish will:

  • Acquire Sprint’s prepaid businesses and customers, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and the Sprint-branded prepaid service.
  • Acquire 14 MHz of Sprint’s nationwide 800 MHz spectrum.
  • Access the New T-Mobile network for seven years, including the ability to serve DISH customers seamlessly between T-Mobile’s nationwide network and DISH’s new independent 5G broadband network.

“These developments are the fulfillment of more than two decades’ worth of work and more than $21 billion in spectrum investments intended to transform DISH into a connectivity company,” said DISH Co-Founder and Chairman Charlie Ergen.

“Taken together, these opportunities will set the stage for our entry as the nation’s fourth facilities-based wireless competitor and accelerate our work to launch the country’s first standalone 5G broadband network.

“The FCC and the DOJ are to be credited for laying the groundwork for an innovative 5G wireless ecosystem that will introduce new opportunities to American consumers and businesses, while enhancing competition in the wireless industry.”

DISH’s proposed asset acquisitions from Sprint are valued at approximately $5 billion, including a $1.4 billion purchase of Sprint’s prepaid businesses, and a $3.6 billion agreement to purchase Sprint’s nationwide 800 MHz wireless spectrum.

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The spectrum purchase is expected to be completed three years after the closing of the acquisition of the prepaid businesses.

“We’ve been here before,” said Ergen. “When we entered pay-TV with the launch of our first satellite in 1995, we faced entrenched cable monopolies, and our direct competitor was owned by one of the largest industrial corporations in the world.

“As a new entrant, DISH encountered many skeptics who questioned our ability to succeed. But, customers loved the disruption we brought to the marketplace with innovations such as a 100-percent digital experience, local-into-local broadcast, the DVR and ad-skipping.

“Our substantial investments, constant innovation, aggressive pricing and commitment to the customer led us to become the third largest pay-TV provider. As we enter the wireless business, we will again serve customers by disrupting incumbents and their legacy networks, this time with the nation’s first standalone 5G broadband network.”

Dish earlier promised the FCC that it would deploy a facilities-based 5G broadband network capable of serving 70% of the U.S. population by June 2023, and has requested that its spectrum licenses be modified to reflect those commitments.


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