C Spire, Dish Network ink retail partnership

C Spire Wireless and Dish Network said they will partner to promote TV Everywhere and DVR products in the wireless carrier's retail locations. The deal is the latest example of wireless carriers striking cross-marketing deals with non-traditional operators.

C Spire said it is installing demonstration areas in its stores designed to showcase Dish's Everywhere technology, which makes use of the place-shifting capabilities Dish acquired via its 2007 Sling Media purchase. C Spire customers who subscribe to Dish programming will be able to watch live TV on smartphones and tablets using the Dish Remote Access app or Dish's viewing portal, www.dishonline.com. However, to get all of that, C Spire customers will need both a Dish Sling adapter and a broadband-connected Dish HD DVR receiver.

"Three-screen convergence is an important element of our personalized services and Dish will help us deliver a converged, integrated video and entertainment experience for consumers on their smartphones and tablets," C Spire CEO Hu Meena said.

C Spire operates a network that covers 5 million customers in Mississippi and parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. The company counts close to 900,000 total subscribers.

C Spire has said it will launch LTE service in 20 markets in Mississippi in September, a significant delay from C Spire's initial goal of rolling out LTE by the end of 2011. C Spire said it will invest $60 million to begin the deployment in Mississippi, which will cover 2,700 square miles, a population of 1.2 million and more than 360 cell sites. The carrier has promised a "full suite" of LTE devices when it launches service.

Dish, meanwhile, wants to use its 40 MHz of S-band spectrum it acquired for $2.78 billion to build an LTE Advanced network. However, Dish's plans are contingent on FCC approval. 

The C Spire-Dish deal is similar in some respects to the cross-marketing deals Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has struck with a group of cable companies. Earlier this week Verizon and Comcast said they will offer each other's communications and entertainment services in six new U.S. markets: Chicago, Atlanta, Colorado, Kansas City, Mo., Minneapolis/St. Paul and Salt Lake City. Through the agreement, Verizon sells Comcast's Xfinity products in its stores, while Comcast offers Verizon Wireless services through its call centers and online sites. The partnership encompasses video as well as voice, Internet and wireless efforts; the companies also offer a variety of discounts and incentives.

For more:
- see this release

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