Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISHC) has long tried to forge a partnership with most of the major telecoms including Sprint Corp. (NYSE:SC), T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE:TMUSC) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:TC). To date nothing has panned out.
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Nothing Set In Stone
Although, as The Wall Street Journal reports, “no deal is imminent” people familiar with the matter are promoting the possibility of a partnership between Dish and Amazon. One person told the WSJ that Amazon “is taking a walk versus a run approach with Dish.”
Already in place is a deal struck in May that allows some Dish customers to use Amazon’s artificial intelligence assistant Alexa to control their set-top boxes. In addition, Dish streaming-TV apps are now available on Amazon Fire devices.
Ideas Being Promoted
One concept being discussed would involve Amazon helping with financing of a network Dish is building focused on the “Internet of Things” (IoT). This is based on the idea that everything from bicycles to Amazon drones could have web connectivity everywhere.
Another idea would allow Amazon Prime customers to access a connectivity or phone plan with Amazon as a founding partner in Dish’s new wireless network. Dish has previously discussed the “founding partner” concept with other tech companies. Both Amazon and Dish declined to comment for the WSJ story.
It’s A Tech-Based M&A World
In the midst of rumors of an Amazon-Dish partnership, others in the industry have been trying to position themselves to capture more customers in the smartphone/mobile web space. Recently Sprint held merger talks with T-Mobile before dropping that idea to explore a deal with Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSAC) and Charter Communications.
Some analysts believe the Sprint overtures could push T-Mobile to return to the table with Dish following the collapse of talks in 2015. Meanwhile, there seems to be a lot more to gain for Amazon by hooking up with Dish. The company could, for example, gain real quality control over its Amazon Dash buttons and push Alexa technology throughout a wireless network – to name just a couple.
Next Big Thing: Amazon Prime Wireless?
Perhaps the most interesting and novel concept to come out of rumored talks between Amazon and Dish is the possibility of a whole new wireless network. Even more interesting is the fact that as recently as May when rumors of an Amazon/Dish mashup first surfaced, the notion was all but dismissed by Fortune Magazine.
The reasoning had to do with competition from the big four carriers, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZD) and AT&T. The reintroduction of low-cost, unlimited data plans was thought to be a preventative measure to keep companies like Amazon.com and Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG Google out of the space.