September 18, 2021

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Could a merger between DISH and DirecTV be on the horizon?

Dish Network and DirecTV are both companies in the process of transformation. Dish has the ambition to become one of the leading wireless operators in the United States and DirecTV, born out of AT&T, now offers its pay-TV services via an Internet-based streaming model. This has led many industry insiders to speculate on whether DirecTV and Dish are good candidates for a merger.

Dish Network and what the future holds

As of this writing, Dish Network still has 8.55 million satellite TV subscribers, but that number continues to decline. In fact, satellite TV as an industry is losing nearly 12% of its customer base every year. Dish has other ambitions, however, and it was pivotal for the FCC that allowed T-Mobile and Sprint to merge. The terms of the agreement require Dish to build a 5G network, through a partnership with Amazon Web Services, capable of providing services to 70% of Americans by June 2023. The beta program for this network will begin in September 2021 in Las Vegas and will continue. throughout the fourth quarter.

DirecTV and what the future holds

AT&T spun off DirecTV as its business. Although AT&T still has a roughly 70% stake in the company, this independence is important on several fronts, including any regulatory approval that would allow DirecTV to merge with another company. Meanwhile, DirecTV is hard at work reinventing itself as more than just a satellite TV service. He picked up a mantra that some have called broadcast or stream it. If you want to access DirecTV through traditional means, you can. But you’ll also be able to access it purely as a streaming service. The company will soon have its own Android TV-like device, or you can use its app via other devices, such as Roku and tablets.

Potential to be the largest pay-TV operator in the United States

DirecTV currently has 15.4 million subscribers. If Dish and DirecTV merged, the total consumer base would be around 24 million. This would make the new company the largest pay-TV provider in the United States. This would add to the 5G network and the ability to entice people with packages that could combine cellular, internet, and the most robust TV plans available.

AT&T and Dish Partnership can be an indicator

AT&T launched DirecTV was the forerunner of much of the merger speculation. It seems to be the most obvious reason why AT&T would like to do this. What’s also interesting is the developing relationship between Dish and AT&T, which had been controversial at best. One clause of the approval of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger was for T-Mobile to sell certain companies to Dish, such as Boost Mobile, and provide it with access to its network so Dish could continue serving customers while building its own. net. But T-Mobile has been a bad actor since the deal was put in place, and that problem has been largely alleviated by a deal between Dish and AT&T that gives Dish access to the AT&T network. In fact, Dish has stated that it will actively minimize the use of the T-Mobile network it has available.

This merger is not a new idea

It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t the first time there’s the potential for a merger between Dish and DirecTV. Both companies tried to complete a merger about 20 years ago, but the FCC and the DOJ blocked it because there simply wasn’t enough competition to justify it.

But the environment is different now

A lot has changed since then, and a lot of what the FCC pointed out back then, such as the maturation of broadband and the rise of 5G, has happened or at least is about to happen. Dish Network president Charles Ergen believes the merger is inevitable, whether it happens now or a decade from now.