Sprint and Dish in Talks to Partner Up, Launch a Mobile Network

Sprint and Dish are in talks to launch a mobile network that utilizes Dish’s valuable spectrum. As usual, this is based on “people familiar with the matter,” though it was published by BusinessWeek, a publication that has historically been very accurate.

Sprint is the number three wireless carrier in the United States. The company is desperately looking for a way to save itself. While Sprint did launch the iPhone and various other flagship smartphones this year, it has continued to bleed customers. Its network is infamous for providing incredibly slow connections. Sprint’s LTE network was launched this year, though it continues to be very small and offer coverage in only a select few cities and towns across the country.

The deal with Dish could potentially offer an out to the failing carrier. Sprint desperately needs more spectrum, and Dish has it.

Under the potential arrangement, discussed in recent months, Sprint would get access to Dish’s mobile airwaves, which aren’t currently being used, the people said. The companies could then share revenue from customers who sign up for a Dish wireless service, or Dish may pay Sprint a fee to use the network, according to one of the people, who asked not to be named because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.

The deal would vault Dish into the mobile-phone market without it having to build its own network, letting the company offer wireless service to its 14 million satellite-TV customers. Dish, which publicly expressed interest in such partnerships, said it won’t make a decision on the matter until a regulatory ruling on its airwaves that may come as soon as next week.

Sprint is currently riding on a cash infusion from Softbank, which purchased 70% of the company’s stock in mid-October. Reaction to such a deal has been relatively positive, with various analysts stating that such a deal could be “quite disruptive,” and stock in both Sprint and Dish rising on such rumors. However, as noted in the excerpt above, an official deal will not be reached until a decision is made on just how Dish can use the airwaves it purchased.


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