Dish Network has reach an agreement for AT&T to provide network coverage to its customers for the next ten years, at the cost of $5 billion.
Dish Network played a pivotal role in the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. Regulators were concerned about going from four to three major wireless carriers, and wanted Dish to move into the role of fourth. To assist it, regulators worked out a deal whereby T-Mobile would provide network coverage and resources to Dish’s customers.
It appears Dish is looking to make its own deals, with it pursuing a $5 billion 10-year deal with AT&T, according to an SEC filing. According to The Wall Street Journal, it’s estimated T-Mobile was receiving $1.5 to $2 billion a year, so the price tag for AT&T’s service could be substantially cheaper.
In addition, Dish has accused T-Mobile of unfairly planning on shutting down its 3G network the beginning of 2022, potentially leaving many of Dish’s customers without service. While AT&T also plans on shutting down its 3G network in early 2022, it’s possible the acrimony with T-Mobile over its 3G plans may have reached the point that Dish simply didn’t want to continue working with the Magenta carrier. Add in a potentially large financial savings, and Dish may have viewed the AT&T deal as too good to pass up.
Regulators will undoubtably be interested in reviewing the deal, especially since they worked so hard to establish the one Dish wants out of.