SEC Filing Insights
An SEC filing provides more insights than Dish’s press release. The deal between AT&T and Dish involves a minimum payment of five billion dollars over ten years.
People are already suggesting that Dish got a bargain by striking this deal for only five billion. They may be misunderstanding the arrangement. I expect the amount Dish pays to AT&T will depend on how heavily Dish relies on AT&T’s network. While five billion dollars is a minimum Dish, I think it’s likely Dish will end up paying more.2
Dish has committed to activating a certain portion of its subscribers on AT&T’s network, but the SEC filing suggests Dish is permitted to activate some subscribers on other networks:
It looks like most of AT&T’s roaming agreements may be extended to Dish (emphasis mine):
The SEC filing briefly touches on prioritization:
Dish has extensive spectrum holdings that AT&T may take advantage of:
The filing makes it clear that access to AT&T’s network is available for both existing and future brands under Dish (emphasis mine):
My hunch is that this deal is good news for both AT&T and Dish. For a while, I’ve heard people express skepticism about whether Dish actually intends to build its own network. I’m finding the skepticism less plausible as time goes on. With the backing of AT&T, Dish can focus on building out a 5G network in dense areas while offloading to AT&T for more extensive coverage.
The new agreement is probably bad news for T-Mobile. The company’s stock closed today a bit over 3% down from its opening price.4
- Dish previously had an agreement allowing its customers to access T-Mobile’s network. That agreement was formed when Dish bought Boost Mobile from Sprint. Both the agreement and the sale of Boost were intended to appease regulators overseeing a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.
- The agreement stipulates some conditions under which early termination is possible. If the agreement is terminated early, I don’t think the minimum payment of five billion dollars will be required.
- Not a lot of details about pricing arrangements are disclosed in the filing, so it’s unclear to me how cost-prohibitive roaming may or may not be for Dish.
- The wider U.S. market, as well as stocks for AT&T, Dish, and Verizon ended down about 1%-2%.