According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, Amazon and Dish Network are having some serious discussions regarding a partnership to create a new wireless business. Sources indicate the talks have occurred at the very highest level of the two companies between their CEOs, Charlie Ergen for Dish Network and Jeff Bezos for Amazon. Amazon is the latest in a string of companies including Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T, that Dish has tried to partner with on a deal.
Besides the belief in the positive business impact the creation of a new wireless network could have, sources believe Dish is interested in building out the infrastructure to be able to better support an “Internet of Things” world of the future. Although Dish claims they have deep enough pockets to do it on their own, much of Amazon’s role is believed to be in bankrolling a significant portion of the endeavor. On the flip side, by partnering with Dish and helping with a wireless network, Amazon could be in a position to offer Prime members yet another benefit, probably for an additional fee, to get connectivity or even a full phone plan through the retailer.
Dish has been buying up spectrum in recent years. Many industry watchers figure Dish is positioning itself to be an attractive target for a company like Verizon that could use a little more spectrum and would see the benefit to accessing Dish’s content offerings. Just think about the acquisition of DirecTV by AT&T. However, Dish is facing a 2021 deadline imposed by the FCC to put the spectrum they purchased to use. Without a solid investor or plan in the works, Dish may need to step up and actually build a wireless network by that deadline and finding a partner to help spread the cost makes sense.
As far as Amazon is concerned, having more direct access to a wireless network could be beneficial for doing things like managing routes in real-time or implementing their drone delivery plans without having to rely on other carrier networks. A partnership with Dish could also open the door to Amazon offering their Prime video service over Dish’s network.
source: Wall Street Journal