The WSJ says that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his opposite number at Dish, Charlie Ergen have struck up a close personal bond and have “discussed a partnership to enter the wireless business.”
Among the ideas being knocked around are that Amazon should finance a new wireless network by Dish focused on the ‘Internet of Things’, providing connectivity to an ever-expanding list of personal and household devices. Alternatively, Amazon could cross sell a connectivity or mobile phone plan through its Prime service, according to the WSJ’s sources.
But an outright acquisition of Dish similar to Amazon’s $13.7 billion move on Whole Foods last month is “highly unlikely,” the WSJ says.
The news comes against a background of upheaval in the mobile communications market, with the explosion in demand for streaming services requiring ever-greater investment in network capacity. Mobile carriers and cable companies are jockeying for position ahead of an expensive network upgrade to the 5G standard: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have been engulfed in a price war in recent months, while cable giants Comcast and Charter Communications are working towards a joint strategy on getting into the mobile market, which may or may not involve a bid for Sprint. Any combination of Charter and Comcast would make life tougher for Dish, which competes directly with them in the TV space.