Dish acquires carrier Ting Mobile: What this means for subscribers

Dish, the company is best known for its satellite television service, has announced the acquisition of Ting Mobile, a prepaid carrier that offers a unique pay-per-usage subscription model. Tucows, the previous owner of Ting Mobile, is onboard to serve as Dish's technology partner for its own retail wireless business. What does this mean for existing Ting Mobile customers? Read on to find out.

What is Ting Mobile?

Ting Mobile is a prepaid carrier, but one that offers unique modular plans that are ideal for customers who don't use much data. Rather than paying a flat rate per month for a specific amount of minutes, texts, and data, Ting customers pay based on how much they use across each category, with the only flat rate being $6/month per line.

So, for example, if you use up to 100 minutes per month, you'll pay $3 for your talk time; if you use 101 to 500 minutes, you'll pay $9/month. Etcetera. Texts and data work in the same way, with users paying zero to $5 for up to 1,000 texts, $8 for 1,001 – 2,000 texts, etc. Data is pricier at up to $20/month for 1.1GB – 2GB; each extra gigabyte of data is $10/month.

This makes Ting an excellent option for elderly people who don't use their phones very often, as well as a service provider for an emergency phone that is rarely used. It is less practical for those who often use their phones, however, ultimately existing to serve a specific subset of consumers.

Dish acquisition

In an announcement on August 3, Dish revealed that it has acquired Ting Mobile assets and that all Ting customers in the United States are now Dish customers. Tucows will set its focus on its own Mobile Services Enabler (MSE) business with Dish as its first partner. Under its MSE business, Tucows will deliver various mobile-related offerings, including activation, billing, and provisioning, among other things.

What does this mean for Ting customers?

Not much, according to Dish. The company said that Ting Mobile users will be able to continue using their existing phones/accounts and that the prices they pay will remain the same. As well, these users will get access to the new T-Mobile network offered post-merger It's unclear whether the company plans any changes for the prepaid carrier in the future.

This isn't Dish's first acquisition of a mobile carrier — the company recently, relatively speaking, acquired established prepaid mobile carrier Boost Mobile, which previously belonged to Sprint. As part of the latter company's merger with T-Mobile, Boost Mobile was sold to get FCC approval. Dish paid a substantial $1.4 billion for the prepaid carrier, officially making itself a national wireless carrier.