Dish gets a little Boost through Amazon

Connecting from the comfort of his home

Dish Wireless has started selling its unlimited mobile plan through Amazon, a move that should go some way to boosting its position in the US market.

The operator’s Boost Mobile unit has made its postpaid Infinite Unlimited plan available to customers of the online retail giant’s Prime service, offering a bit of a discount to accompany the launch. But while Dish needs all the help it can get in flogging its mobile packages – its customer base has been in decline for some time – this deal is more of a small stepping stone than it is a launchpad to joining the mobile big guns.

Amazon Prime members can have the Boost Infinite Unlimited SIM kit for $20, that’s $5 less than the standard retail price, plus a $25 credit as an added incentive. The plan itself costs $25 per month for unlimited voice, messaging and data, and the telco is making a lot of noise about how that price is locked in forever, although the small print shows it may slow speeds for very heavy users.

The plan forms an integral part of Dish’s current push to increase its customer base. Company executives were talking up the then-to-be-launched postpaid version of the unlimited plan on Dish’s first quarter results call earlier this year as part of a broader discussion on monetising the network the company has built out and a general ramping up of marketing and distribution.

The network itself is still a bit of a sticky issue. Dish is spending billions of dollars to roll out its own 5G cloud-native Open RAN network, but admitted on that same results call that the infrastructure is not yet carrying much traffic; most still uses the infrastructure of MVNO partners AT&T and T-Mobile US.

The availability of handsets has been a problem for Dish; there aren’t many compatible with its Band 70 spectrum. The firm added the iPhone 14 to its portfolio just last month, which will help with that, but the Amazon deal doesn’t add any new devices, nor does it bundle phones with the offer. As yet, that is.

In fact, Dish was keen to point out that “Boost Infinite makes it easy for Prime members to bring their compatible phones, keep their current phone numbers (or get new ones), enable the SIMs, activate via the Boost Infinite app, and get up and running with no hidden fees or minimum line requirements.” That statement was clearly designed to reassure would-be customers that making the switch to Boost would be easy – a crucial step for any new or nearly new market entrant – but it also highlights that this plan is not necessarily going to help get much more traffic onto that new network.

Nonetheless, bums on seats is hugely important to Dish right now. It celebrated lower quarterly losses in the January-to-March period than it experienced a year earlier, but nonetheless still lost 81,000 customers in Q1 and around 290,000 over 12 months. Its base now stands at 7.91 million, which is not only tens of millions fewer than the big three, but is also fewer than the 9 million it picked up when it bought Boost Mobile back in 2020.

“Amazon is the perfect place to offer this Boost Infinite exclusive deal, making it easy for Prime members to purchase our SIM kit online, with an exclusive 20% discount, and activate their postpaid wireless service without setting foot in a store,” said Jeremy McCarty, Head of Boost Infinite. “It’s a different approach to wireless, elevating the customer experience and keeping things simple.”

Amazon is clearly a good platform from which Dish can hawk its wares, but it is going to need more to really build some scale. Nonetheless, it’s a great place to start.


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