US pay-TV operator and wireless carrier DISH has completed its $1.4 billion (€1.24bn) acquisition of cellco Sprint’s prepaid brand Boost Mobile, officially entering the retail wireless market, serving more than nine million customers and advancing the build of what it says will be the nation’s first standalone 5G network.
“Today, we are proud to welcome hundreds of employees, thousands of independent retailers, and millions of customers to the DISH family,” said Erik Carlson, president and CEO, DISH. “This marks an important milestone in DISH’s evolution as a connectivity company. It positions us well as we continue to build out the first virtualised, standalone 5G network in America.”
The company will continue to utilise the Boost brand and has unveiled the new Boost logo. John Swieringa, who serves as group president, retail wireless and COO, DISH, will lead Boost Mobile.
“Boost is uniquely positioned to disrupt this industry,” declared Swieringa. “Our passionate team, from employees to retail associates to local business owners, is ready to compete. We’ll bring new, exciting products and offers to customers that better meet their needs and fit their budgets. Starting tomorrow, Boost will launch the first of our new offers with the revival of $hrink-It! — rewarding customers with ‘the longer you stay, the less you pay’.”
Boost has begun, and will continue, to activate customers with a compatible device onto the new T-Mobile network, where it says customers will receive a stronger signal, faster speeds and more coverage.
In July 2019, DISH announced a series of agreements the company reached with the DOJ and FCC as part of the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. DISH will have access to the new T-Mobile network for seven years, including the ability to serve DISH customers between new T-Mobile’s nationwide network and DISH’s forthcoming standalone 5G network, a first-of-its-kind in the US.
“The FCC and DOJ have shown continued leadership in advancing the nation’s 5G wireless future, and thanks to their efforts, DISH is able to focus our resources on building the only 5G network in the US based on Open RAN architecture, completely from the ground up,” said Carlson.
DISH continues to make progress on its 5G network deployment and recently announced the selection of Fujitsu for radio units and Altiostar and Mavenir for cloud-native, Open RAN software.
“We just checked an important milestone,” said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. “In closing our deal with DISH to divest Sprint’s prepaid brand, T-Mobile followed through on fulfilling one of the most significant commitments we made as part of this merger process. We are excited to keep making big steps forward and, as promised, continue to work toward delivering the transformative nationwide 5G network that is only possible with the New T-Mobile’s combined capacity AND breadth to consumers across the US.”
In connection with the closing of the DISH transaction, T-Mobile, Sprint and DISH entered into certain other ancillary agreements, including a spectrum purchase agreement.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai welcomed the news that the divestiture of Boost Mobile to DISH has been completed. The Commission conditioned its 2019 approval of T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint on T-Mobile divesting Boost Mobile so that price-sensitive customers in densely populated areas would not be harmed by the merger. In April 2020, the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau approved the network access agreement reached by T-Mobile and DISH as consistent with the principles set forth by the Commission to ensure that Boost would be able to compete robustly once it was divested to DISH.
“I’m pleased to see that T-Mobile has met one of its most important merger commitments,” said Pai. “Today’s action is a key step towards promoting vigorous competition in the wireless marketplace, particularly for price-conscious consumers in our nation’s cities. I also welcome DISH’s entry into the mobile industry. With this divestiture and its existing spectrum resources, DISH has the potential to make a big impact on a wireless marketplace that is transitioning to 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity. Of course, while this divestiture is good news, the Commission remains committed to ensuring that T-Mobile and DISH comply in the coming months and years with all of the conditions imposed by the FCC in this proceeding.”
The FCC says that by leveraging T-Mobile’s network and spectrum resources through the network access agreement, DISH will be able to offer competitive service options while it builds out its own 5G network. DISH has made a commitment to use its acquisition of Boost Mobile, along with 5G infrastructure investments, to deploy a competitive 5G wireless service using its long-held spectrum licences.