Dish has been linked with deals, mergers and buyouts involving AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and others over the years, but its latest suitor could be Amazon, according to a report out of The Wall Street Journal. Dish's Chief Executive Charlie Ergen and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have apparently started some interesting talks about partnerships between their companies, leveraging the powers of each.
Discussions have reportedly surrounded ideas such as Amazon funding the launch of a cellular network using Dish's growing spectrum holdings, with benefits both in the Internet of Things space as well as straight-up consumer wireless offerings.
The possibilities enabled by such a partnership could be numerous. Amazon is an increasingly large player in consumer electronics with its own-branded products, and could see synergies in offering seamless Prime-exclusive wireless service to anyone who bought an Amazon Fire tablet or Prime Exclusive Android phone. On the back end, you could see Amazon using a Dish-run wireless network to provide internet infrastructure for devices like Dash buttons, Kindle e-readers and Echoes, or even just for its delivery drivers and logistics equipment.
WSJ is quick to point out that no deal is imminent between the two, but this partnership seems surprisingly viable and attainable compared to a complete buyout of, or merger with, one of the big four U.S. wireless carriers. Amazon, for its part, isn't a complete stranger to these types of partnerships — it has of course bundled basic internet connectivity for its Kindles for years via Sprint and more recently AT&T. With its recent purchase of Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion, we know it's no stranger to a big acquisition, either.
We can be pretty certain that Amazon isn't ready to jump back into the phone game with a sequel to the all-around failure that was the Fire Phone. With Amazon's multi-pronged approach that includes tablets, set top boxes, internet-connected home appliances and partnerships for Prime Exclusive phones from other manufacturers, there's little reason for Amazon to give the in-house phone idea another try.
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Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.