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Dish said today that it has reached an agreement with T-Mobile to use the T-Mobile Ultra Capacity 5G  network to provide connectivity to Dish mobile customers and to customers of Dish’s retail wireless brands, including Boost Mobile. The agreement requires Department of Justice approval, and according to a Dish press release, the DOJ must make a decision no later than August 14, 2022.

Dish recently launched 5G service in markets covering 20% of the U.S. population but needs to use another carrier’s network to provide coverage in areas where it doesn’t have its own facilities. T-Mobile uses the Ultra Capacity 5G name for service delivered over the mid-band spectrum that the company acquired when it merged with Sprint. That network covers at least 80% of the carrier’s customers, according to T-Mobile.

The news about the Dish, T-Mobile agreement comes a bit less than a year since Dish reached an agreement to use the AT&T 5G network.

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A Dish press release about the agreement stated that AT&T would be the “primary network services partner for DISH MVNO customers.” It also stated that AT&T would provide service for Boost, Ting and Republic customers – three brands that Dish uses in addition to the Dish brand.

According to a Dish spokesperson, the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Motorola Edge smartphones and the Netgear hotspot that the company offers are all capable of running on the Dish, T-Mobile or AT&T network. Asked how the devices would determine which network to connect to, the spokesperson said “it will depend on which network has the best coverage at any given time.”

Dish T-Mobile 5G Agreement

Dish’s wireless business was created when the company acquired the Boost Mobile prepaid operations from Sprint as a condition of the T-Mobile/ Sprint merger. Plans also called for T-Mobile to provide connectivity for Dish in areas where Dish lacked its own network facilities. Not long after the multi-party deal closed, however, T-Mobile and Dish began sparring over T-Mobile’s plan to shut down its CDMA network, which was used by Boost customers — a situation that may have prompted Dish to pursue the AT&T deal.

According to today’s press release, Dish and T-Mobile have agreed on new terms that are more favorable to T-Mobile in exchange for T-Mobile’s agreement to commit to a minimum annual revenue commitment that amounts to multi-billions of dollars over the life of the agreement.

Updated with information from a Dish spokesperson

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