Dish took a major step towards remaking itself Wednesday as it completed the $1.4 billion acquisition of Boost Mobile from T-Mobile, officially entering the retail wireless market serving more than nine million customers. The company founded by Charlie Ergen is diversifying out if its core satellite pay TV business as legacy media continues to be highly challenged by cord-cutting.
“Today, we are proud to welcome hundreds of employees, thousands of independent retailers, and millions of customers to the DISH family,” said CEO Erik Carlson. “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.”
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The divestiture by T-Mobile fulfills a commitment the carrier and Sprint made to the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission as part of their merger that closed earlier this year.
Dish will continue to use the Boost brand name but unveiled a new Boost logo. Dish COO and group president, retail wireless, John Swieringa, will lead Boost Mobile.
“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. “We’ll bring new, exciting products and offers to customers that better meet their needs and fit their budgets.
The divested prepaid customers – totaling 9.3 million –and new Dish wireless customers will have full access to the T-Mobile network for seven years in a phased approach including roaming in certain areas until Dish’s 5G network is built out. In connection with the closing of the DISH transaction, T-Mobile, Sprint and DISH entered into certain other ancillary agreements, including a spectrum purchase agreement.
Boost’s new $hrink-It! plan, which starts at $45 for 15GB, reduces customers’ monthly rates by $5 after three on-time payments, and by an additional $5 after six total on-time payments. Boost will also offer a $35 10GB plan that includes unlimited talk and text.
“We just checked an important milestone. In closing our deal with DISH to divest Sprint’s prepaid brand, T-Mobile followed through on fulfilling one of the most significant commitments we made as part of this merger process,” said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert in a separate release.
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