It's Official, Dish Is Now A Wireless Carrier

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T-Mobile and Dish today announced that the deal to sell off Sprint's prepaid business to Dish has closed.

That makes Dish, officially, the fourth largest carrier in the US. Giving the company 9.3 million customers to start with. Dish has acquired Boost Mobile (Virgin Mobile too, but they were merged into one brand last year).

Divesting Sprint's prepaid business to Dish was one of the things that T-Mobile had to do for the regulators to approve of its merger with Sprint.

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What is T-Mobile getting in this deal?

This deal is giving T-Mobile approximately $1.4 billion for the prepaid business that Sprint had.

For Dish, their customers will have access to the T-Mobile network in a new phased approach. Basically, Dish will act as an MVNO with T-Mobile for the next few years. At least until Dish builds out its 5G network. The three companies – T-Mobile, Sprint and Dish – also entered into other ancillary agreements, which includes a spectrum purchase agreement. Dish is planning to purchase some spectrum from T-Mobile in the future, to help build out its 5G network.

Dish already has a pretty big pile of spectrum that it has been collecting over the past decade or so. Which puts Dish in a pretty good spot to become a relatively competitive fourth carrier, pretty quickly.

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What does this deal mean for Boost Mobile customers?

Right now, nothing. But in the future, it means that you're getting a brand new network and hopefully a better carrier experience.

Boost Mobile customers will continue to use T-Mobile's network – as they have been since the Sprint and T-Mobile deal closed a few months ago. But over the next couple of years, they will be moved onto Dish's network, once it is built out. Dish does plan to use its own WiFi hotspots and T-Mobile's network for now, for its users. A lot like Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile do.

T-Mobile's CEO Mike Sievert stated that "we just checked an important milestone. In closing our deal with Dish to divest Sprint's prepaid band, T-Mobile followed through on fulfilling one of the most significant commitments we made as part of this merger process."

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The money that T-Mobile is getting from Dish in this deal is likely going to be used to pay some of the debt that Sprint has. And Sprint had a lot of it – a big reason why it was looking for a buyer.