In its recently conducted Q4 earnings call, Dish Network called T-Mobile as “anti-competitive.” This was in reference to T-Mobile’s plans to shut down its legacy 3G CDMA network on January 1, 2022. Once the shut down takes place, this will mean a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars for Boost Mobile and will also affect millions of customers.
According to Stephen Stokols, head of Boost Mobile, plans have already been set in place to migrate Boost customers. But according to the executive, they are working at a pace that aligns with their organic churn and upgrades. The January 22 CDMA shutdown schedule, however, adds pressure for the company to complete its plans 18-24 months earlier.
Before Dish decided to acquire Boost, it signed a seven-year MVNO deal that would allow its customers to continue using T-Mobile’s network. This is enough time for Dish to build its own 5G network. With this agreement, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice (DoJ) decided to approve the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.
As of this writing, Boost has over 9 million subscribers. The impending CDMA shutdown will affect millions of those customers and will leave them without a network, unless they purchase a new device, SIM, and upgrade their software. The only solution is for Dish or Boost to rollout its upgrades earlier than anticipated.
With this option, Dish needs to find a way to accelerate its efforts and invest for a premature upgrade. Dish believes that while this is a huge cost, it still is an investment they have to make. Otherwise, their whole business will be significantly affected.
There is a chance that the government will step in and help out with this concern of Dish’s. But right now, the FCC has not commented on any action they intend to take. There’s also a possibility that T-Mobile will push back the CDMA network shutdown to a later date. But if it has any plans to do so, Dish needs to know as soon as possible.