Dish Network Clinches Deal to Build 5G Network in the U.S.

Dish Network Corporation the U.S. television provider and owner of the direct-broadcast satellite provider DISH, has been chosen by U.S. telecommunications regulators to act as a third party contributor to complete the approval of Sprint-T-Mobile merger. The goal is to see a more robust T-mobile, working with the Dish wireless spectrum to build 5G network across the country. Regulators see it as a way of renewing competition that will constrain the 2 telecom giants, AT&T and Verizon, to offer better rates to consumers.

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Dish Network, Charlie Ergen,was able to negotiate a deal with the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission for a 2-year extension, in order for the company to build a 5G network. The deal came with a condition that:

  • By June 2022, Dish Network must have built a 5G network covering at least 20% of the country
  • By June 2023, Dish must provide 5G network to about 70% of the U.S. population
  • If Dish fails to fulfill the two aforementioned conditions, the company will have to pay a penalty of around $2.2 billion to the U.S. Treasury.

Apparently, the 2-year extension concerns the 2020 build-out deadline set by the U.S. government, for Dish to put into good use the billions of dollars of wireless spectrum the company owns. The original plan was to use the spectrum in building a narrowband Internet-of-Things {IoT} network by the year 2020. The plan though will be scrapped, to give way for the 5G network commitment.

Overview of the Dish and T-Mobile/Sprint Conglomeration

The agreement is in conjunction with the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, to which talks about possible delay has been put to rest. Last July 26, 2019, mobile carriers T-Mobile U.S. and Sprint received the much-awaited approval coming from the Department of Justice.

The two mobile carrier giants agreed to give Dish access to their network and stores; making Dish a viable wireless communication carrier, whilst allowing the company to vend wireless phone services.

T-Mobile and Sprint also gave Dish Network access to some of their stores and networks. The acquisition of T-Mobile’s assets will make Dish Network a viable wireless carrier and should allow it to sell wireless phone services. Actually, even before this deal came down, Dish Network tried to acquire Spring in 2013, and later the T-Mobile company.

Under the new arrangement, Dish will be shelling out $5 billion in exchange for its access to the T-Mobile-Sprint assets, including hundreds of retail locations and 20,000 cell sites. The companies though have to build 5G infrastructure major rural areas, as well as charge lower fees to customers for a 3-year period at the start.