News and Analysis
The Wall Street Journal reports today that Dish and Amazon have discussed a partnership to launch a wireless business, and perhaps working together in other projects as well.

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The newspaper adds that any arrangement probably wouldn’t include Amazon purchasing Dish, and that no partnership deal is imminent.

However, the two companies have a variety of common assets that could enable them to compete more effectively if they banded together. For instance, Amazon could market its video streaming service to Dish customers, and secure a faster delivery system using the new wireless business.

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Dish, which has been planning a wireless offering for a few years, could use Amazon’s deep pockets to accelerate its development. The satcaster could also use Amazon’s enormous customer data base to better market its pay TV service, and Sling TV, its live streaming business.

However, before anyone gets too excited about the prospect of this deal, it should be noted that Dish has engaged in numerous unsuccessful merger and partnership talks over the years.

As WSJ notes, the satcaster has recently discussed wireless partnerships with Sprint and T-Mobile. In addition, Dish has had frequent merger discussions with rival satcaster DIRECTV since 2000. (The companies actually agreed to a merger once, but it was rejected in 2002 by the FCC because it was considered anti-cobsumer.)

Dish even agreed once to a merger with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., but the deal fell through after Dish CEO Charlie Ergen butted heads with top News executives in the planning period.

In other words, Dish likes to talk. But Dish talking usually doesn’t lead to Dish signing.

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— Phillip Swann