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Tag Archives: DISH Network

AT&T, Dish Network Eye Dish-DirecTV Deal

In a move that could help AT&T and Dish Network to build their 5G wireless communications networks, the two companies are in fresh talks to merge their satellite TV businesses, according to reporting in the New York Post. AT&T’s satellite TV business is DirecTV.

“The satellite-TV giants attempted a merger nearly two decades ago but the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department’s antitrust division stopped it,” the Post story reads. “Two years ago, the DOJ also quietly warned executives off a prospective deal, concerned about the nascent rollout of 5G, sources said.”

Both companies’ satellite TV businesses have been losing subscribers to a trend that sees consumers using internet connections for video viewing and disconnect there cable TV or satellite TV services in a step called cutting the cord. The Post reported that merging the two satellite services could save the companies as much as $1 billion in costs.

“In 2020, regulators with the DOJ’s antitrust division had told AT&T executives that a marriage between DirecTV and Dish would have to wait until faster 5G wireless service is more widely available in rural markets, two sourc­es close to the situation said,” the Post story reads. “Regulators were concerned that a combined company could jack up the prices of satellite TV.”

The Post quoted telecom analyst Craig Moffett as saying, “The FCC and DOJ would likely both conclude that having one strong satellite competitor is better than none at all — and the future is not terribly bright even together but especially alone.”

Dish Network Promotes John Swieringa to President and COO of Dish Wireless

John Swieringa

Dish Network has promoted John Swieringa to president and chief operating officer of Dish Wireless. In the expanded role, the company said, he will be responsible for operational aspects of Dish’s wireless business, including the deployment and management of its virtualized, O-RAN 5G broadband network. Swieringa had been serving as executive vice president and group president of retail wireless, where he was responsible for strategy, operations, sales and customer service for Dish’s retail wireless brands, including Boost Mobile. He will continue to lead the retail wireless business and oversee day-to-day wireless activities.

“John’s a 14-year veteran of Dish and is committed to changing the way the world communicates with our unique capabilities,” said Charlie Ergen, Dish cofounder and chairman. “His experience in our overall business will help to maximize our wireless opportunities within all lines of the business. He and his team will deploy and monetize Dish’s network while advancing our retail, enterprise and wholesale market opportunities.”

Swieringa said that he would lead and further integrate Dish’s wireless strategy, deployment and operations efforts.

“We have a significant opportunity as we prepare to commercialize our wireless investments and deliver value to our customers, company and shareholders,” Swieringa said.

According to Dish Network, it is a connectivity company that, since 1980, has served as a disruptive force, driving innovation and value on behalf of consumers. Through its subsidiaries, Dish said, the company provides television entertainment and technology to millions of customers with its satellite Dish TV and streaming Sling TV services. In 2020, the company became a nationwide U.S. wireless carrier through the acquisition of Boost Mobile.

Dish Network Reports Third-quarter 2021 Results

Dish Network has reported revenue totaling $4.45 billion for the quarter ending Sept. 30, compared to $4.53 billion for the corresponding period in 2020.

Net income attributable to Dish Network totaled $557 million for the third quarter 2021, compared to $505 million from the year-ago quarter. Diluted earnings per share were $0.88 for the third quarter, compared to 86 cents per share during the same period of 2020.

Net Pay-TV subscribers decreased approximately 13,000 in the third quarter, compared to a net increase of approximately 116,000 in the year-ago quarter. The company closed the quarter with 10.98 million Pay-TV subscribers, including 8.42 million Dish TV subscribers and 2.56 million Sling TV subscribers.

Retail wireless net subscribers decreased approximately 121,000 in the third quarter, compared to a net decrease of 212,000 in the year-ago quarter. The company closed the quarter with 8.77 million retail wireless subscribers.

Dish Network’s 2021 revenue through the third quarter totaled $13.43 billion, compared to $10.94 billion in revenue from the same period last year. In the first nine months of 2021, net income attributable to Dish Network totaled $1.86 billion, compared with $1.03 billion during the same period last year. Diluted earnings per share were $2.93 for the first nine months of 2021, compared with $1.77 during the same period last year.

Detailed financial data and other information are available in Dish Network’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended Sept. 30 filed on Nov. 4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Dish to Use Blockchain Model With Customers’ CBRS Hotspots

Dish Network and Helium are collaborating to support open source, low-cost wireless connectivity ecosystems, according to Dish. Dish said that it would be the first major carrier to use Helium Network’s blockchain-based incentive model with customers deploying their own 5G CBRS-based hotspots. Dish Network is building a virtualized, standalone 5G broadband network; Helium is known for decentralized unlicensed wireless networks, according to Dish.

“The Helium Network is a consumer-deployed, decentralized wireless infrastructure that produces and delivers data-forwarding hotspots,” a statement from Dish reads. “By installing a hotspot in the home or office, a customer can provide or strengthen 5G wireless coverage using CBRS spectrum. In return, a customer will earn rewards in the form of $HNT, a Helium Network-based token. Powered by the company’s blockchain, the Helium Network is creating a new wireless economy through a breakthrough economic model known as the burn-and-mint equilibrium.

Chris Ergen, head of the Dish Office of Innovation said that blockchain technologies hold potential for the wireless industry.

“Helium is among the leading innovators who have demonstrated that the blockchain incentive works by creating the largest decentralized, unlicensed wireless network across the United States,” Ergen said.

 

Opinion: What Is Hidden In The AT&T Dish Lovefest

By Ernest Worthman

Ern Worthman

The news about the latest waltz in the telecom sector (between Dish Network and AT&T) has been seen on just about every media outlet by now. Just in case you missed it, they have inked a new, long-term strategic Network Services Agreement (NSA) (said to be worth upwards of $5 billion) making AT&T the primary network services partner for DISH MVNO customers.

One comment was that this deal is simply a swap-out of T-Mobile for AT&T in Dish’s plans going forward. But there is a bit more to it than just that.

One of the key issues surrounding this agreement is that Dish is under a federal mandate to have wireless service to the rest of the country after 2023. This deal makes Dish an MVNO “indefinitely,” and has to potential to let Dish off the hook for fulfilling its federally mandated requirements should it falter (and there is substantial belief that it may). Not a bad plan for Dish to find some breathing room (rumor has it that T-Mobile was not willing to discuss extending their agreement past 2027).

Drilling down on that hard stop in 2027, while that seems like a lot of years for Dish to accomplish its goals, some analysts believe Dish would not have been able to meet federally imposed deadlines on its wireless buildout. Perhaps they are more concerned than they let on and saw that as a potential problem if things do not go according to plan. The AT&T deal adds six more years (to 2023) to that when all is said and done.

This is significant because Dish is obligated, under the terms of the consent decree between Dish, T-Mobile, Sprint, the DOJ, and the FCC, to build out wireless facilities covering 70 percent of the U.S. population by 2025. Dish notes that they are not worried that this goal can be reached since that 70 percent is collected in less than three percent of the U.S. landmass.  Without an MVNO agreement to fall back on, Dish would have to build out the rest of the country, of which the next 25 percent occupies nearly ten times the landmass of the first 70 percent. And the number goes downhill from there. That is the real rub. So, this new arrangement gives Dish some breathing room, basically, and here is why.

There are two issues with “coverage.” That, defined by the FCC, and that defined to achieve customer satisfaction. And it is not just semantics. FCC coverage is loose. It is a broad stroke that just means coverage is available, even if it is slow and spotty. The satisfaction coverage is a completely different animal. It means that coverage is ubiquitous, i.e., residences, enterprises, venues, open areas, dead spots, malls, parks, you name it. That is where Dish is looking ahead to the deadline of 2027 with some trepidation.

While this seems to have more honey than vinegar, it is by no means a slam dunk. And not all opinions are on the same page. An analyst or two makes note that accomplishing part of what Dish must do is somewhat difficult – the Partial Economic Areas (PEAs). The main issues with these tend to be geography (not so much) and RoI (much). There are challenges with the infrastructure as well (power, backhaul, terrain, etc.). This will be the make or break for Dish under the agreements and the FCC’s watchful eye.

Now, Dish has more flexibility and time for implementing its own buildout. Even after it meets all of its FCC commitments, it has some work to do to fully blanket the nation with its own network coverage. Now they can rely on the T-Mobile MVNO deal as a safety net for a few more years while it builds out its own network and meet the customer requirement of fully blanketing the country with its own network.

Additionally, there is speculation that that the deal also was some insurance for AT&T’s DirecTV satellite TV business.

That makes some sense as well. After years of the satellite industry showing little growth and promise, the recent uptick of Non-geostationary Orbit (NGSO, the latest term for LEO satellites) is breathing new life into the satellite business. Even the GSO satellite business (where Dish has its birds) is seeing some resurgence. This gives Dish another content source, if that is something they are thinking about, going forward and such a vector fits into the MVNO landscape at some point.

In the end, it is a good deal for AT&T, not so good for T-Mobile, and a win for Dish. The reasons have been analyzed to death, with all kinds of theories as to why the players did what they did. Several analysts have analyzed the financial implications. Others the motives of Dish, AT&T, and T-Mobile. But when it comes down to counting the chips it is all about keeping as many of them as they can and keeping the revenue stream, wherever it is, running.  It will be interesting to watch how this plays out in the next few years.

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Ernest Worthman is an executive editor with AGL Media Group.