The Justice Department had concerns about competition in the U.S. mobile market reducing if T-Mobile and Sprint were allowed to merge. It wanted to maintain the status quo of having four major wireless players. That’s where Dish came into the mix. It was reportedly in talks with a deal to acquire the merging carriers’ prepaid businesses. Dish has now confirmed that it will indeed be entering the country’s mobile market as a major player.
As a result of its agreement with the Justice Department, T-Mobile, and Sprint, once the merger is completed, Dish will acquire Sprint’s prepaid businesses and customers which include Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and the Sprint-branded prepaid service. It will also acquire 14MHz of Sprint’s nationwide 800MHz spectrum and access the T-Mobile network for seven years.
The portion of spectrum it’s picking up from Sprint will be added to its own existing 600MHz and 700MHz low-band holdings. Since building out a mobile network takes time, Dish customers will initially be served on a combined T-Mobile and Sprint network. They will be able to move seamlessly between T-Mobile’s nationwide network and Dish’s “new independent 5G broadband network.”
As regards 5G, Dish has committed to the FCC that it will deploy a “facilities-based” 5G broadband network that’s capable of serving 70 percent of the country’s population by June 2023. If Dish fails to meet its 5G deployment deadlines, it will make voluntary contributions to the U.S. Treasury of up to $2.2 billion.