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Dish's CEO to Boost Dealers: 'We Want to Change the Way the World Communicates'

Mike Dano
8/16/2019

Dish Network's CEO acknowledged that there is some "uncertainty" about the company's plans to acquire Sprint's Boost business and customers, but he told Boost's dealers in an email that "we're excited about the opportunities presented by 5G and our ability to change the very nature of the industry. In fact, we want to change the way the world communicates."

Light Reading obtained the email that Dish CEO Erik Carlson recently sent to Sprint's Boost dealers, and the full email is included at the bottom of this article.

"As you know, this transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. In the meantime, I understand there may be some uncertainty. You probably have many questions," Carlson wrote in the email. "I want to assure you that, to the extent the agreement framework allows, we'll work with your leadership to keep you updated on our progress and to share more about DISH."

Importantly, Carlson said that -- if Dish is successful in acquiring Sprint's Boost -- the company would continue to leverage Boost's dealer network. "We understand the importance of a strong dealer network; it's been critical to our success. Boost has an extremely robust and successful dealer community, and we're excited about our opportunity to continue to grow the business together," he wrote.

Carlson's email to Sprint's Boost dealers comes just weeks after Dish inked a major $5 billion agreement to purchase customers, spectrum and MVNO access from T-Mobile. The transaction, which received US Department of Justice approval, is part of a wider effort by regulators and executives to push through the long-gestating merger of Sprint and T-Mobile. However, the transaction still faces major opposition from a growing number of state attorneys general.

Nonetheless, Dish's email to Sprint's Boost dealers represents another indication of the seriousness that Dish appears to have regarding its plans to enter the wireless industry in a big way. If the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile is ultimately consummated, Dish would immediately become the nation's second-largest MVNO through its acquisition of Sprint's 9.3 million prepaid customers across Sprint's Boost, Virgin and Sprint Prepaid brands. Dish has promised to offer "disruptive" pricing as soon as its purchase of Boost and Sprint's other prepaid brands is approved.

But Dish has conceded that it can't be successful in wireless by itself. Thus, Carlson's appeal to Boost's dealers appears geared toward encouraging them to stick with Dish during the transition.

After all, dealers represent a major component of the wireless industry. They're often smaller, independent retail businesses that essentially resell wireless brands ranging from Boost to Metro by T-Mobile to Verizon and AT&T. Sometimes they sell such brands on an exclusive basis, and sometimes they sell various combinations of those brands and others. They often earn a commission based on the number of customers they activate for those brands. Therefore, supportive dealers likely would represent an important part of Dish's early efforts to enter the wireless industry.

Here is the full text of Carlson's letter to Sprint's Boost dealers:

    Dear Boost dealers,

    On behalf of DISH, I want to touch base and let you know how excited we are about the recent news and our future together.

    My name is Erik Carlson, President and CEO. My own career is a testament to the tremendous opportunity you can find with DISH. I started here as an account executive working with independent dealers in a small office outside Chicago 24 years ago, and I've been here for every customer we've signed up since.

    As a founder-led, customer-focused organization, we have a proud and exciting history as a disruptor and innovator. We disrupted pay-TV by launching satellite TV and achieving the status of the third largest pay-TV provider, and later delivering the nation's first live streaming TV service with Sling TV.

    For many years now, we have been working toward the goal of becoming a disruptive competitor in the wireless industry. We are incredibly excited to welcome Boost dealers as a part of that effort. Technology accelerates innovation and market disruption, and we're excited about the opportunities presented by 5G and our ability to change the very nature of the industry. In fact, we want to change the way the world communicates.

    We understand the importance of a strong dealer network; it's been critical to our success. Boost has an extremely robust and successful dealer community, and we're excited about our opportunity to continue to grow the business together.

    This is certainly an exciting time for all of us. I love our team and the pride we bring to what we do, and I think you will, too.

    As you know, this transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. In the meantime, I understand there may be some uncertainty. You probably have many questions. I want to assure you that, to the extent the agreement framework allows, we'll work with your leadership to keep you updated on our progress and to share more about DISH.

    Again, we look forward to meeting you.

    Erik

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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