DISH turns to AT&T for network services in $5bn deal

20 July 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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DISH has partnered with AT&T to serve its MVNO customers, signing a long-term strategic network services agreement (NSA).

The 10-year agreement commenced on 14 July and will see DISH pay AT&T "at least $5 billion".

"Teaming with AT&T on this long-term partnership will allow us to better compete in the retail wireless market and quickly respond to changes in our customers' evolving connectivity needs as we build our own first-of-its kind 5G network," said John Swieringa, DISH COO and group president of retail wireless.

"The agreement provides enhanced coverage and service for our Boost, Ting and Republic customers, giving them access to the best connectivity on the market today via voice, messaging, data and nationwide roaming on AT&T's vast network, as well as DISH's 5G network."

DISH – which said it will "continue to build out the nation's first cloud-native, OpenRAN-based 5G network reaching over 70% of the population by 2023" – also uses T-Mobile's network, and its contract for this runs until 2027.

However, its media release published yesterday said that AT&T would be "the primary network services partner for DISH MVNO customers".

Praising AT&T's $140 billion investment into wireless and wireline networks, DISH also said that under this deal AT&T would be able to use "a portion of DISH's spectrum in various markets to help support DISH customers on AT&T's network".

Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Consumer, said: "Teaming with DISH on this agreement is not only a testament to the strength of our network, but it further validates the investments we've made in our fibre and wireless infrastructure. We welcome DISH wireless and its customers to the nation's largest and best wireless network for all of their streaming, data and roaming needs."