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Dish’s next step in wireless service is to buy from another small provider

Dish has taken over Ting Mobile, a small cell service provider, in its final step to become a major nationwide provider. Ting launched in 2012 and had 286,000 subscribers from July 2018, making it downright small. Because Ting relied on the wireless networks of other providers, the acquisition actually only gives Dish’s branding and customers.

The bigger piece this deal is something most people will not see: Ting’s parent company, the internet services company Tucows, will provide mobile backend services for the nationwide network Dish is building. That includes core features such as customer billing, phone activation and network provisioning – services that Dish needs before it can launch a truly independent wireless service.

Dish has been planning to enter the wireless market for years, but it has only started in recent months. On July 1, Dish’s acquisition of Boost Mobile was completed, giving 9 million subscribers and seven years of access to T-Mobile’s network. That should be enough for Dish to build a nationwide wireless network on its own, and Dish has said it is now looking for suppliers to build its 5G infrastructure.

These changes in the wireless market are the result of T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint, which was completed in April. The deal’s approval was based heavily on Dish’s desire to become a new nationwide competitor. To get things going, Dish Boost bought and other prepaid assets away from Sprint and gained temporary access to T-Mobile’s network. Now that those first steps have been completed, we see that Dish is taking steps to build its own service.