Dish Network said Wednesday that its prepaid wireless unit Boost Mobile has agreed to purchase Gen Mobile, a provider of wireless data and cell phone service to low-income customers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but in a press release Dish said it will purchase the Gen Mobile brand, customer base, existing distribution network, technology and wireless team.
"Gen Mobile has an established brand, a proven team and an unwavering commitment to connect the underserved," said Boost Mobile EVP Stephen Stokols in a press release. "The brand is a natural addition as we look to reach all segments of the mobile market."
This is the third acquisition for Boost in about a year. In March, the company purchased Republic Wireless, a prepaid MVNO with about 200,000 subscribers. In August 2020 Dish agreed to purchase Ting Mobile (opens in new tab), another prepaid wireless company that operates via an MVNO agreement with T-Mobile that had about 200,000 customers at the time that deal was struck. In July, after signing an MVNO deal with AT&T, Dish said traffic from its Boost, Ting and Republic customers would be moved to the AT&T network.
Dish entered the prepaid wireless business after it purchased Boost Mobile from T-Mobile for $1.4 billion in 2020, as part of the larger wireless company’s $26 billion purchase of Sprint. Dish also agreed to buy spectrum from T-Mobile worth about $3.6 billion.
While Boost had more than 9 million prepaid wireless customers at the time of its Dish deal, that base has been dwindling. In Q2,, Dish said it had about 8.89 million prepaid wireless customers, but lost about 362,000 prepaid customers in the six months prior to June 30.
Dish is also in the throes of building out its own 5G wireless network, and plans to launch its first market, Las Vegas, in Q4.
Dish said the Gen Mobile deal will better help Boost address the digital divide. Earlier this year, Boost said it will participate in the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which is geared toward making broadband more affordable for all Americans. Gen Mobile offers wireless broadband service for as little as $10 per month, and its focus on underrepresented communities will help Dish achieve its stated goals of accelerating its EBB and Lifeline growth.
"We founded Gen Mobile to help bridge the digital divide and ensure all Americans have basic affordable wireless access," Gen Mobile CEO and co-founder Robert Yap said in a press release. "Joining forces with Boost allows us to broaden our customer reach, magnify our impact and ultimately connect more Americans."
Yap will continue to lead the Gen Mobile business, reporting to Stokols. Gen Mobile will continue to be headquartered in Los Angeles.
Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.
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