DISH Network and Tucows have entered into an agreement under which DISH will acquire Ting Mobile from Tucows and will buy mobile services enablement services from Tucows.
A mobile services enabler provides functions such as billing, activation, provisioning and funnel marketing to mobile providers, a press release explains. Tucows initial business was providing domain name and internet services. The company later branched into mobile and internet service. Tucows retains its Ting Internet business, which provides broadband at speeds up to a gigabit in some markets.
On Saturday, August 1, most Ting Mobile subscribers became DISH customers. They will use their current phones and rate plans.
This is one of several moves move DISH has made to build its 5G future. The first took advantage of the Sprint/T-Mobile merger, which was conditioned on some divestitures by the combined entity. In July DISH completed the acquisition of Boost Mobile, Sprint’s prepaid wireless business. The deal, which was valued at $1.4 billion, includes more than 9.3 million customers.
The deal provided DISH with more than just a lot of customers. DISH now has a seven-year MVNO agreement that will enable new Boost Customers to use the T-Mobile network as DISH builds its own. Boost customers will be able to roam on the T-Mobile network “in certain areas” until DISH’s network is built out. The Ting Mobile customers also will use the T-Mobile network.
The acquisition of Ting Mobile adds another piece to DISH’s emerging 5G strategy. “Our agreement with Tucows will accelerate our digital and operational capabilities in wireless” said John Swieringa, Group President, Retail Wireless and DISH COO, in a press release.
The DISH strategy is to build a subscriber base before the company builds a network. But that network is coming: In June, the company said it will use radio units from Fujitsu and cloud-native Open vRAN software from Altiostar Networks. In April, DISH named Mavenir as a provider of OpenRAN software for the network.
Tucows transition to an MSE starts with DISH, which will be the company’s first MSE customer.