Dish Network’s Q2 results were historic in that the satellite broadcaster is now firmly on track to become the 4th cellular operator for the US.
Dish’s satellite division lost a net 79,000 subs during the quarter. However, its Sling TV streaming system gained 48,000, leaving the business with an overall net loss of 31,000. But 31,000 is a lot less than a 243,000 loss in Q1 and 278,000 a year ago.
The ‘new look’ (“transformational”, as chairman Charlie Ergen described the move) will mean that this time next year Dish will have absorbed Boost Mobile’s current 9 million subs, and if Ergen has his wish a lot more. Part of the T-Mobile/Sprint agreement will see Dish also absorb Virgin-branded customers.
But the company also recognised that there will be a financial cost. Dish is paying some $5 billion for its role in the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, but Dish anticipates that rolling out the Boost signals – using Ergen’s portfolio of spectrum – will cost around another $10 billion.
I’m certainly willing to put more money in this company if that’s what it takes,” Ergen stated, adding that “we’ll get someplace in three years that will take the other guys 10 years,” added Ergen during the company’s analysts call.
CEO Erik Carlson told analysts that Dish was well prepared for the move into the cellular area, stating that “It is going to happen quickly… June 14, 2023 is now our deadline to provide 70 percent of the nation’s population access to our 5G broadband network. But, we have lots of work ahead of us to land Boost and begin the 5G build out. And I’m confident in our grafted fundamentals and I’m certainly confident in our ability to execute.”