Dish has now reportedly completed its acquisition of Ting Mobile, in a bid to continue growing its subscriber base. Aimed at becoming the fourth-largest network operator in the US, the deal doesn't necessarily add a lot of subscribers. Ting's Q1 2020 figures, as reported in a transcript published by The Motley Fool, were well under 1-million customers. In fact, Ting reported just 154,000 active accounts and 272,000 active subscribers.
Ting also relies on other mobile providers, somewhat akin to how Google's own Fi MVNO works. So Dish isn't obtaining any new network spectrum or similar assets from the deal. What it will gain, at the surface level, is access to Ting's branding and its subscribers. The former will only remain relevant, of course, up until such time as Dish decides to absorb the assets entirely.
The Ting Mobile Acquisition will be exceptionally helpful to Dish under-the-hood
Another big part of the Ting Mobile acquisition by Dish will be the changes it allows behind the scenes. Summarily, Dish is only just now getting started, after acquiring Boost Mobile in the T-Mobile merger with Sprint. So it doesn't have all of the core services and features in place for customers to access its carrier services.
That includes customer billing, device activation, and provisioning services that Ting does already have in place. So the least noticeable part of this acquisition will be the part that undoubtedly impacts customers the most.
Ting parent Tucows will also help in the transition following the acquisition. Namely, it will be providing a plethora of backend services including those mentioned above. At the very least, that's until Dish is more stable and has its own services and network built out.
So what's Dish's end-game here?
The overarching goal and the likely purpose of the acquisition are almost certainly tied in with those background services. As noted already, Dish is new to the mobile carrier game. And it's looking to rapidly expand and grow itself into a viable competitor, potentially as the fourth major carrier in the US. It will have plenty of competition in that space too. Not least of all from alternatives such as Comcast's Xfinity Mobile.
Right now, the company has access to 9-million subscribers in addition to those it has obtained via its Ting acquisition. It also still has access to T-Mobile’s network for up to seven years. But that won't remain the case beyond that. So it needs to take these vital first steps if it's going to stand on its own.