Things get tense between Dish and T-Mobile
Is the relationship between Dish Network and T-Mobile starting to sour?
Based on a new filing with the FCC, that certainly appears to be the case. In the filing, Dish complained that T-Mobile inappropriately used Dish’s spectrum as a marketing ploy during COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Since T-Mobile gained temporary access to Dish’s 600MHz spectrum on March 15, the company has publicized the capacity benefits of this spectrum in press statements, tweets and advertisements in an apparent effort to acquire new subscribers. This includes television commercials highlighting the doubling of their 600 MHz capacity,” a Dish executive complained to a T-Mobile executive in an email included in the filing. “The purpose of Dish’s initial [spectrum] grant was to help T-Mobile increase capacity during the crisis to serve customers, not to use Dish’s spectrum as part of a commercial marketing effort.”
To be clear, T-Mobile and Dish appear to be moving forward in other areas of their wide-ranging partnership, despite this recent bickering. But the issue is noteworthy considering Dish is expected to purchase roughly 10 million prepaid customers from T-Mobile in the coming weeks, a transaction that will position Dish to be a T-Mobile MVNO for the next seven years as it works to build its own 5G network.
As any spouse knows, petty bickering today can plant the seeds for deeper troubles in the future.
At issue in the filing is the unprecedented agreement announced between T-Mobile and Dish in March, in the early days of pandemic lockdown orders in the US. Under the agreement, Dish said it would let T-Mobile borrow its unused 600MHz spectrum for 60 days so T-Mobile could use it to reinforce its wireless network. T-Mobile feared that stuck-at-home Americans surfing the Internet could overwhelm its wireless operations.
However, that didn’t really happen. While there were huge traffic spikes on fiber and cable networks due to the COVID-19 quarantine, traffic on wireless networks stayed largely the same, mainly because most smartphones default to customers’ home Wi-Fi networks. Nonetheless, T-Mobile boasted in advertisements in March that it had “doubled capacity” on its network thanks to spectrum loans from Dish and others.
To read the complete article, visit Light Reading.