Long-time analyst Craig Moffett said "AT&T has let Dish off the hook" in Dish's new services agreement with AT&T, which guarantees AT&T at least $5 billion in wholesale revenue over ten years. With a two-year “transition period” on top, it is arguably more like a twelve-year deal, and that’s a “huge, game-changing win” for Dish, Moffett said.
AT&T now covers more than 250 million people across the US with its flavor of 5G, which includes low-band spectrum in large parts of the country. It reached that goal a full six months earlier than originally planned. The company uses dynamic spectrum sharing, which allowed it to speed its 5G deployment by putting it on top of its LTE network. Its millimeter wave (mmWave) technology, which it calls 5G Plus, is now in parts of 38 cities and 20 venues, with plans to be in parts of 40 cities and 40 venues by the end of 2021.
SpaceX said it’s up to Dish and its allies to show their proposed use of 12Ghz spectrum won’t harm satellite companies.
Dish Network has its sights set on the 12 GHz band for 5G, and it isn’t backing down, even in the face of some pretty stiff competition. Dish—which is in the process of building out a cloud-native, open RAN-based 5G network—itself uses the 12 GHz band for direct broadcast satellite (DBS). Yet it says sharing with 5G in the band is feasible, and while it still wants to support the diminishing TV satellite business (DBS) business, it’s confident that sharing isn’t going to hurt those customers.
More than 825 broadband providers are taking part in the Federal Communications Commission’s new Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. One of the participants is TruConnect, a mobile virtual network operator that uses T-Mobile’s network. “Lifeline has been a terrific solution,” for getting communications into the hands of those who need it but can’t afford it, said Matthew Johnson, co-CEO of TruConnect, who runs the company with his brother Nathan Johnson. But it was frustrating during Covid-19.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union took note of AT&T’s report that showed “robust first quarter earnings,” with net profit up 60% year over year. But the company continues to cut jobs and reduce retail operations, which does not sit well with the union. AT&T has closed 549 corporate retail stores over the past year, and even though it has converted many stores into dealer stores, that shrinking corporate retail footprint results in lower wages for wireless retail workers, according to CWA.
Opponents to Verizon’s planned acquisition of prepaid TracFone often cite the negative impacts they believe it will have on Lifeline subscribers and the prepaid market overall. But Verizon is pitching the transaction as a means of improving TracFone’s ability to provide Lifeline-supported services and better serve the prepaid sector. Verizon said that TracFone, as part of Verizon, will become a stronger competitor against the flanker prepaid brands of AT&T (Cricket ) and T-Mobile (Metro).
Concerns about the 5.9 GHz band came up again during a hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg gave testimony. But that wasn’t all. Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) reiterated his concerns about potential interference from 5G in the C-band – the very band where the likes of Verizon and AT&T just pledged over $80 billion for access to airwaves for 5G.
TracFone is the largest wireless reseller in the U.S., with about 21 million subscribers and prepaid brands including Straight Talk and Simple Mobile.
The attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia sent a letter to the Federal Communications urging the agency to request additional information from Verizon about its planned TracFone Wireless acquisition. “The potential for Verizon to pursue additional profits by reducing the access and/or quality of Lifeline services could shut out millions of low-income Americans from adequate communications services,” they wrote.