Amazon’s (AMEN) next big strategic move could be into wireless communications with satellite TV company Dish Networks (DISH), according to The Wall Street Journal.
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.