Dish Network has entered into an agreement to acquire Republic Wireless, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that sells low-cost mobile service operating on the T-Mobile network. Pending regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
The acquisition gives Dish approximately 200,000 new customers, control over the Republic Wireless brand, and Republic’s Relay business division, which provides communication and productivity solutions for frontline teams in hospitality, facilities management, manufacturing, healthcare, and education. Back in August, Dish reported in its Q2 2020 results that it was concerned with subscriber losses and service disruptions in hospitality and airline markets, which led to a decline in its quarterly revenue.
Dish said Republic’s Relay division will continue to operate as a standalone company and become a wholesale customer on Dish’s 5G network. Relay will also remain headquartered in North Carolina. Once the acquisition is complete, Dish Senior Vice president of Ting Mobile and MVNO platforms Rob Currie will take over the Republic Wireless business. Dish acquired Ting Mobile and its approximately 272,000 subscribers in August.
“Republic has created a loyal following and established a brand known for innovation, customer service and value. We plan to build upon that strong foundation,” said Dish COO John Swieringa. “As we continue to grow our retail wireless business, Republic broadens our existing customer base and positions us to deliver even more value to the market, expanding our portfolio of mobile solutions to meet a variety of customer needs.”
Financial details of the acquisition agreement were not disclosed at the time of the announcement.
Ever since Dish entered its mammoth three-way spectrum and asset trading deal with Sprint and T-Mobile in July 2019, the company has been trying to position itself in the U.S. market as a leading wireless carrier. Dish committed to the FCC that it will deploy a facilities-based 5G broadband network capable of serving 70% of the U.S. population by June 2023.
In the FCC’s recent auction of C-band spectrum that previously belonged to Intelsat, SES, and Telesat and marked for 5G wireless reallocation, Dish Network, bidding under Little Bear Wireless, won only one license bid for $2.5 million.