Amazon might join forces with Dish to start a wireless network. Reuters reported that CEOs Jeff Bezos and Charlie Ergen have been in talks about a potential partnership.
Dish has been hungrily buying up radio frequencies that connect devices in the Internet of Things (IoT), and the Federal Communications Commission requires that it start using the acquired spectrum to build its first wireless network by 2021.
Dish has said it doesn’t need help building the wireless network, but investors speculate that Ergen could look for a partner to share investment costs, and these talks with Bezos support that theory. Amazon is certainly in a position to help bankroll the venture.
The potential benefits to Amazon should the deal go through are clear. An IoT platform could bolster certain Amazon Web Services products, support the company’s drone delivery plans, enable one-way broadcast signals for Prime video via Dish airwaves and create new options for Prime members to get a connectivity or phone plan for a little bit extra per month.
Analysts say that Dish’s growing collection of radio frequencies could make it a target for acquisition by wireless carriers. The market for mobile devices and smartphones is already mostly saturated, and carriers are looking to the IoT as the next potential source of revenue.
Verizon, for instance, is gunning for gold in the IoT race. It announced last week that its LTE Cat M1 network had carried its first successful over-the-air LTE call, proving that Cat M1 VoLTE technology can work on a production network.
Rosemary McNally, vice president for corporate technology at Verizon, said, “By proving that voice services can be delivered on a production LTE Cat M1 network, we’re paving the way for new types of IoT applications and services.”
Designed for devices that require extended battery life, Cat M1 can bring efficiency, extended coverage and security advantages to applications such as water meters, wearables, asset trackers and consumer electronics, Verizon said in its press release about the achievement.
Meanwhile in Europe, T-Mobile has announced the launch of its new IoT web portal TEO in the Czech Republic. The carrier has also established IoT hubs at “the Chateau” in Amsterdam and the De Gruyter factory in Den Bosch, Netherlands.
While analysts have said that the telecom and cable sectors are primed for a wave of deal activity, they believe that an acquisition of Dish by Amazon is extremely unlikely.