Dish Closes $1.4B Boost Mobile Deal

(Image credit: Dish Network)

Dish Network said it has completed its purchase of Boost Mobile Wednesday, paying $1.4 billion for its 9 million prepaid wireless customers

The purchase was part of the conditions Boost parent T-Mobile agreed to in securing federal regulatory approval of its $26 billion purchase of Sprint Corp. As part of those conditions, T-Mobile also agreed to sell 800-megahertz wireless spectrum to Dish for about $3.6 billion over three years.

“Today, we are proud to welcome hundreds of employees, thousands of independent retailers, and millions of customers to the Dish family,” Dish CEO Erik Carlson said in a statement. “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 virtualized, standalone 5G network in America.”

Although Dish had always expected to close the deal by July 1, earlier this month there was speculation that chairman Charlie Ergen was trying to negotiate a better deal. Although the price didn’t change, Dish said it has secured a seven-year agreement for Boost Mobile to run on T-Mobile’s superior 5G network, including the ability to serve Dish customers between new T-Mobile's nationwide network and Dish’s forthcoming standalone 5G network.

“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 U.S. based on Open RAN architecture, completely from the ground up,” said Carlson.

Dish said Boost Mobile will retain its brand name and will be led by Dish chief operating officer and group president, retail wireless John Swieringa.

“Boost is uniquely positioned to disrupt this industry. Our passionate team, from employees to retail associates to local business owners, is ready to compete,” Swieringa said in a press release. “We’ll bring new, exciting products and offers to customers that better meet their needs and fit their budgets.”

The service also will launch a new wireless plan on July 2 -- dubbed $hrink It! -- aimed at keeping prepaid customers longer. According to Boost, the $hrink It! Plan starts at $45 per month for 15GB -- a $5 discount -- and rates fall an additional $5 after three on-time payments are made, and decline another $5 after six total on-time payments. Boost previously offered a shrinking payments plan that was available to new Boost Mobile customers until July 2014.

Boost also will offer a $35 10GB plan that includes unlimited talk and text. Consumers may sign up for either plan with their existing compatible device or by purchasing a new device from Boost. Both plans will be available beginning July 2.

Dish said it 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.