Dish's attempts to disrupt Sprint's buyout with SoftBank may not have come to fruition, but apparently that doesn't mean the two companies can't make up and sign a deal. The two are teaming up to test out broadband service that pick ups wireless signals from Sprint's 4G LTE network and delivers them into homes. The service will use both indoor and outdoor routers that tap into Sprint's 2.5 GHz signal, putting high speed data services in places that might have been previously unavailable. The trial begins in Corpus Christi, Texas next year, and will be extended to other cities after that.
Starting in Texas, then headed elsewhere
Sprint and Dish aren't the first companies to launch a service like this; both Verizon and AT&T offer home broadband connections that run off 4G signals. Dish also announced plans for a similar pilot program launching early next year in Virginia, which is a partnership with Sprint's regional wireless partner NTelos. Like mobile data plans, these services are typically far more limited in monthly data, but can be an alternative in areas where a wired connection is impossible. That makes them good for remote locations, but not binge watching Netflix. Verizon has even pushed to replace some traditional telephone infrastructure with such wireless services, though received a pushback from the FCC, which voiced concerns over these services costing consumers more.
Dish is not using its own LTE spectrum as part of the trial, but that doesn't mean its wireless ambitions are kaput. The company got FCC approval on using that spectrum more than a year ago, and announced plans to reach some 60 million subscribers by 2016 — but the actual service has to come first.