Dish now owns Boost Mobile, bringing Dish — after years of speculation — into the consumer wireless market where it can start to compete with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
Boost was previously part of Sprint, which is now owned by T-Mobile. T-Mobile was required to sell Boost in order to get federal approval for its acquisition of Sprint, which closed in April.
As part of the agreement, Dish is paying $1.4 billion for Boost and other Sprint prepaid assets. Dish also secured access to T-Mobile’s network for seven years, allowing its subscribers to use T-Mobile’s network while Dish builds out its own 5G service.
Dish says the new Boost Mobile has more than 9 million subscribers. It’s a start, but it means Boost is incredibly tiny compared to the big carriers, which have 100 million subscribers or more.
Over the coming years, Dish plans to build out a 5G network and become a full-on competitor to Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Dish has spent years buying up wireless spectrum that could be used for a mobile network, but it hadn’t built that out or launched a consumer service until now.
Approval of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger was heavily predicated on the idea that Dish would fill the gap left by Sprint and become a new fourth nationwide carrier. That’s a lot easier said than done, but as of today, the very first steps are complete. Dish says it’s still looking for vendors to handle the construction of its own network.
Boost will now be led by Dish COO John Swieringa. Dish is also unveiling a new logo for Boost, which is… just the Dish logo somewhat incoherently shoved into the Boost logo, as seen in the image above.