Dish Network and AT&T Team Up with $5 Billion Pact

    • Dish Network and AT&T have agreed to a deal that will have AT&T replace T-Mobile as Dish Network's primary connectivity provider.
    • The deal is worth at least $5 billion.

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Linear TV isn’t dead yet, and Dish Network is betting on network upgrades to draw viewers to its sports content and other packages.

The company will pay AT&T at least $5 billion to be its primary network services provider for a decade.

Dish has leveraged its sports programming, including ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, and the BeIn Network, as it tries to fend off streaming challengers.

“We continue to experience increased competition, including competition from other subscription video on-demand and live-linear OTT service providers,” Dish wrote in its first-quarter earnings filing.

  • The company took in $4.5 billion in Q1, compared to $3.2 billion in the same period last year, a drop the company attributed in part to delayed and canceled sports.
  • Dish lost 230,000 subscribers across its DishTV and Sling TV networks in Q1, compared to 412,000 in Q1 2020.

The nonexclusive deal displaces T-Mobile as Dish Network’s main network provider. The pact is expected to boost Dish Network’s rollout of 5G technology and expansion into rural networks.

The deal continues AT&T’s major pivot from a content provider to a content facilitator. The telecom company is spinning off WarnerMedia in a $43 billion merger with Discovery. DirecTV is selling off $3.1 billion in junk bonds to facilitate its split from AT&T.