Dish is officially a wireless carrier. After being brought in by the Department of Justice to help allay competition concerns with, Dish on Wednesday said that it has completed its purchase of Boost Mobile, Sprint's prepaid service.
With the deal completed, Boost users are now Dish's first wireless customers as it begins to build out its own wireless network with the goal of becoming a fourth challenger to AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. With the acquisition, the satellite provider now has over nine million wireless users.
Boost customers will still be able to keep their phone numbers and continue to have service in the same areas they have now. On Thursday Dish will introduce its first new plan, bringing back Boost's previous "$hrink-It!" plan that starts at $45 for 15GB of data. Monthly rates drop by $5 after three on-time payments, and then by an additional $5 after six total on-time payments.
A second new plan that offers 10GB of data and unlimited talk and text will also be available for $35 per month.
"Today, we are proud to welcome hundreds of employees, thousands of independent retailers, and millions of customers to the Dish family," Dish CEO Erik Carlson said in a statement. "This marks an important milestone in Dish's evolution as a connectivity company. It positions us well as we continue to build out the first virtualized, standalone 5G network in America."
Longtime Dish exec John Swieringa will be in charge of Boost Mobile.
The completion of the deal is the culmination of Dish's unlikely role as the savior of the T-Mobile-Sprint deal, which concerned regulators that the elimination of one of the national carriers would hurt consumers. As part of the 5G., Dish will use T-Mobile and Sprint's network for seven years while it builds its own nationwide 5G service, including being able to take advantage of new T-Mobile improvements such as its deployment of
New Boost users will be activated on T-Mobile's network, allowing them to take advantage of the stronger service compared to Sprint's network. Existing Boost customers who want to move to the T-Mobile network should head to a Boost store to make the switch.
T-Mobile, which in addition to Sprint also owns the Metro prepaid brand, was required to divest Boost to get government approval for the merger.