Satellite cable provider DISH Network Corp. (DISH) and Inc. (AMZN) may make unlikely bedfellows, but the two companies, both run by eccentric billionaires, could soon become partners.

That’s according to a report in The Wall Street Journal which cited people familiar with the matter as saying Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos and DISH Network head Charlie Ergen have become friendly over the past year and are now discussing a wireless partnership. One of the ideas being bandied about is Amazon partially funding a network the satellite cable provider is building to focus on the Internet of Things, or devices that are connected to the internet and can talk to each other. The idea would be that with an IoT network, products Amazon sells -- from drones to bicycles -- can have internet connectivity wherever they are. Another potential business idea is that Amazon would be able to offer Prime members to pay extra each month for a internet or phone plan. (See also: How Amazon Is Winning—at Your Expense.)

Beyond Amazon

The Wall Street Journal noted a deal is not imminent, and it's not yet clear if a partnership will come to fruition, noting that DISH has held talks with other technology companies about becoming a so-called founding partner in its IoT network. One source told the newspaper Amazon is “is taking a walk versus a run approach with Dish.” The paper noted an acquisition of DISH by Amazon isn’t likely despite the partnership discussions. (See also: New DISH Ad Campaign Aims to Woo Back Customers.)

The talks between the two come at a time when the telecommunications and cable industries are looking for ways to move beyond offering voice, cable and internet services. With consumers increasingly cutting the cord and using smartphones and mobile device to access internet content, they are all looking for new ways to grow. The IoT market is attractive for the companies given that it's set to explode. Market research firm Gartner predicts worldwide spending on IoT devices and services will hit $2 trillion this year, up from $737 billion in 2016. For Amazon, hooking up with DISH to create a wireless network could further the company’s push into new areas as well as give it control over the connectivity for Amazon Dash buttons, a feature that lets users reorder household goods via its Echo speakers, which are powered by Amazon's voice-activated virtual assistant Alexa, noted the Journal.

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