With AT&T buying DirecTV, and Comcast now offering wireless service, seems like Dish Network is being left out. But the nation’s number-two satellite provider has reportedly been chatting with Amazon about the possibility of creating a new wireless network.
The Wall Street Journal, citing sources close to the matter, reports that Dish CEO Charlie Ergen and Amazon chief Jeff Bezos have been getting cozy, dreaming up possible tie-ins related to either entering the wireless business or creating a network focused on the Internet of Things.
Possible deals could involve Amazon becoming a “founding partner” in Dish’s long-dreamed of entrance into the wireless business by providing financial assistance in building a large network to deploy spectrum.
This option, the sources say, could see Amazon becoming a preferred provider for Dish’s network, giving the e-commerce giant the ability to offer Prime members discounts on phone plans or other services.
This particular tie-up could also provide Amazon with more control over the connectivity for its devices, the WSJ reports, adding that a partnership on wireless might improve Amazon’s voice-assistant Alexa’s technology.
Additionally, sources note that Amazon could improve the streaming of its original and Prime media content by leveraging a one-way broadcast signal using Dish’s airwaves.
A tie-up between Amazon and Dish could also further both companies’ Internet of Things ambitions. For instance, sources say that Amazon could use Dish’s network to control and operate its future flock of delivery drones.
Specifically, analysts tell the WSJ that Dish’s network could enable Amazon to “consider real-time changes in directions or multi-stop delivery routes through messages from the network.”
While sources caution a partnership isn’t a foregone conclusion and nothing could come from the talks, the companies aren’t exactly strangers.
Back in May, Dish began allowing its set-top boxes to be controlled by Amazon’s voice-assistant Alexa, the WSJ reports.
Bezos and Ergen have also been running into each other more frequently this year, sources tell the WSJ, noting that a partnership between the two CEOs and companies wouldn’t be unusual.
Both executives are often looking to the future when weighing business ventures. For instance Ergen’s Dish was one of the first to launch online TV services in the form of Sling TV, while Bezo is no stranger to disrupting other industries, from logistics to home entertainment to supermarkets: The e-commerce company recently agreed to purchase Whole Foods for $13 billion.