Dish has been fighting Sprint quite a bit lately. First they tried to fight their buyout from Softbank, and of course lost. They also tried to buy Clearwire, which Sprint bought the entire Clearwire company. Now it looks like the two are partnering up for a new venture. Dish and Sprint are teaming up to test out a new broadband service that pick ups wireless signal from Sprint’s 4G LTE network and delivers them into homes. Supposedly, this service would use both indoor and outdoor routers that tap into Sprint’s 2.5GHz signal, putting high speed data in places that might have been previously unavailable. Sprint and Dish will be beginning this trial in Corpus Christi, Texas next year and will be extending the service to other areas after the initial trial run.
Remember that Sprint and Dish aren’t the first ones to offer a service like this, both AT&T and Verizon offer home broadband connections that run off 4G signals. Dish has also announced plans for a similar pilot program launching early next year in Virginia, which is a partnership with Sprint’s regional wireless partner NTelos. The major downside with having a LTE-based broadband service is the fact that LTE plans are usually much more limited in monthly data allowance. Although most ISPs have already switched to data caps, they are much higher than what wireless carriers offer. However, this will be great for remote locations.
It’s worth noting that Dish is not using their own LTE spectrum as part of this trial run, so that doesn’t mean their wireless ambitions are over with. Dish did get FCC approval on using the spectrum over a year ago, and announced plans to reach some 60 million subscribers by 2016. However they need actual service to be able to reach that many people. We’ll see when that actually happens.