Dish Network primarily sells satellite TV through one brand name: Dish. But as the company transitions into the wireless industry, it's leveraging multiple customer-facing brands, each with its own specific speciality.
However, company officials acknowledged that Dish's wireless business remains a work in progress. They suggested that other, unannounced brands might still be waiting in the wings.
Indeed, Dish still has not launched a wireless offering under what could be considered its most valuable brand: Dish Mobile (or Dish Wireless, depending on your persuasion).
Nonetheless, Dish's John Swieringa said that the company is making progress in its approach to the wireless/mobile/5G industry.
"I think different things will appeal to different customer segments," he told Light Reading in a recent interview.
In that role, Swieringa is in charge of Dish's existing 8 million wireless customers, all of its wireless brands, and its 5G wireless network buildout. Stephen Stokols, the Dish executive running Boost Mobile and Dish's other mobile brands, reports to Swieringa.
A focus on Boost
Broadly, Swieringa said Dish is working to please existing customers and entice new ones, regardless of the brand it's using. "We have to provide great value to grow," he said.
Boost Mobile remains Dish's primary brand attacking the wireless industry. Swieringa said that brand ought to get a boost, so to speak, when it launches a postpaid service under the Boost Infinite tagline this fall. Swieringa also said that's when Dish should begin selling a smartphone that can access the company's unique Band 70 spectrum holdings. So far Dish has been selling smartphones that access some of its other spectrum bands, but its Band 70 holdings are important because they are plentiful and cover wide geographic areas.
Moreover, Swieringa explained that Dish is working to expand Boost's distribution both in terms of retail outlets and geographic scale. He said Walmart, Best Buy and Target are now selling Boost Mobile. Further, he said Dish is now able to sell Boost in more geographic locations around the country because of the company's new MVNO deals with AT&T and T-Mobile. Prior to Dish's acquisition of Boost, the brand was primarily restricted to Sprint's relatively diminutive network coverage area.
But Boost Mobile is one brand of many – other Dish mobile brands include Project Genesis, Ting Mobile, Republic Wireless and Gen Mobile.
Here's what Swieringa had to say about each of those other brands:
Project Genesis is the company's brand to introduce its new 5G network to the market. "Project Genesis has launched the nation's first cloud-native Smart 5G network that changes the way we connect. Now live in 120+ cities and this is just the beginning," according to the company's website. But Swieringa explained that Project Genesis isn't necessarily the final brand Dish might use for its 5G network. He explained that Project Genesis essentially gives Dish a way to launch commercial 5G services while continuing to work to refine its network and its go-to-market strategy. Importantly, Project Genesis is not listed among the company's brands on the official Dish Wireless website.
Dish purchased Ting Mobile last year, but little has changed on the Ting Mobile site since then. Swieringa said Ting will allow Dish to experiment with models like bring-your-own-device (BYOD), sort of like what Verizon is doing with its Visible brand. Ting also is not listed on the official Dish Wireless website. Separately, Dish's purchase of Ting last year also included a Mobile Services Enabler (MSE) agreement with Tucows, an Internet technology and service provider that previously operated Ting. That deal calls for Dish to move its entire MVNO operation onto Tucows's mobile platform.
Republic Wireless has morphed into the brand Dish is using to encourage its existing satellite TV customers to sign up for its wireless network. "Dish customers save up to 60% with Republic Wireless by Dish. Just $29.99 per line," according to the Republic Wireless website. Prior to Dish's acquisition of Republic in 2021, the MVNO focused on mobile plans that prioritized Wi-Fi connections.
Gen Mobile is a little-known MVNO brand that Dish acquired in 2021. Swieringa said the brand is the one Dish will use to pursue the US government's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The program provides low-income Americans with up to $30 per month for Internet connections.
The networking strategy
Dish now has three different wireless networks that it can use for its various brands. The company recently inked new MVNO agreements with both AT&T and T-Mobile, networks that it will use while it fleshes out its own 5G network. Eventually Dish plans to move virtually all its wireless traffic onto its own network, but that likely won't happen for several years.
Further, Dish officials have said that the company is developing a 5G network that can essentially separate out a network slice for all kinds of customers, whether they are enterprises or Dish's own mobile brands.
Swieringa said Dish will look to add value to its various mobile brands by including other services potentially including its Sling TV streaming video service, telehealth services or financial services.
Dish isn't the only company embarking on a multi-brand strategy. For example, Verizon now owns brands ranging from TracFone to Visible to Straight Talk, while AT&T operates the Cricket brand and T-Mobile operates the Metro by T-Mobile brand.
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