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DISH, AT&T strike $5B wireless network deal

DISH announced this week that it signed a long-term strategic Network Services Agreement (NSA) with wireless carrier AT&T. The agreement will make AT&T the primary network services partners for DISH MVNO customers. Through the agreement, DISH will provide its current and future retail wireless brands customers, including Boost Mobile, Ting Mobile and Republic Wireless access to coverage and connectivity on AT&T’s wireless network, as well as the new DISH 5G network.

The non-exclusive deal would pay AT&T at least $5 billion over 10 years to support DISH’s consumer cellphone brands, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The agreement will expedite DISH’s retail wireless distribution expansion to rural markets where the company provides satellite TV services. Additionally, as part of the agreement, AT&T will provide transport and roaming services to support DISH’s 5G network. DISH has said it’s committed to providing competition in the wireless market as the nation’s fourth facilities-based carrier. The company will continue to build out the nation’s first cloud-native, OpenRAN-based 5G network reaching over 70% of the population by 2023.

“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,” John Swieringa, DISH COO and Group President of Retail Wireless said in a statement. “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.”

AT&T 5G is currently available to 250 million people across the country over sub-6 spectrum and millimeter wave spectrum (AT&T 5G+), which is currently available in parts of 38 cities and at more than 20 venues, including high-traffic places like stadiums, arenas, airports and campuses. AT&T plans to cover 200 million people across the country with C-band (mid-band) 5G by the end of 2023.

The carrier has invested more than $140 billion into its wireless and wireline networks between 2016 and the first quarter of 2021, including capital investments and acquisitions of wireless spectrum and operations, to support market demand for communications. Its agreement with DISH will allow the carrier to use a portion of DISH’s spectrum in various markets to help support DISH customers on AT&T’s network.

“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 fiber and wireless infrastructure,” Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO, AT&T Consumer said in a statement. “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.”

Joe Dyton can be reached at

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