With its first FCC milestone reached last quarter, Dish announced that its 5G network comprised 5,000 cell sites at its 2Q 2022 earnings call last month. The operator is expanding its network rapidly, adding around 1,000 sites per month, and plans to reach around 70% coverage by mid-2023. This will involve deploying around 15,000 cell sites.
Key highlights during the quarter included the appointment of Samsung as a major radio supplier. Post period, Apple announced that it will include Dish’s Band 70 frequencies in its latest iPhone 14 model, a major boost for Dish. The operator is now preparing for the launch of its first post-paid service Boost Infinite, expected before the end of the year.
Key Quarterly Data
News on the subscriber front, however, was not so good for either the wireless or the pay-TV business as the company continued to shed subscribers.
- Wireless subscribers – Dish lost another 210,000 retail subscribers during the quarter bring its total wireless subscriber base down to 7.87 million. The company has lost around 1.1 million wireless subscribers since it entered the wireless business in August 2020 when it purchased Boost Mobile for $1.4 billion from T-Mobile. ARPU increased slightly from the previous quarter to $37.90 while churn rate improved marginally to 4.39%.
- Pay-TV – Dish’s pay-TV business also lost around 257,000 customers in the second quarter and the company ended the quarter with 7.79 million satellite TV subscribers and 2.2 million Sling TV streaming customers.
Total revenue was $4.21 billion for the quarter, down 6% from $4.49 billion YoY while net income dropped 30.3% to $523 million YoY. Exhibit 1 shows how revenues for the pay-TV and wireless businesses have fallen during the past two years.
© Counterpoint Research, Data: Dish Networks
Exhibit 1: Dish Pay-TV and Wireless Revenues During The Past Two Years
Samsung – More than a radio vendor?
Counterpoint Research believes that the most significant news during the quarter was the announcement that Dish had signed a new radio contract with Samsung Networks. According the company, Samsung will support virtually all of Dish’s FDD and TDD spectrum bands, including CBRS and the mid-band 3.45-3.55 GHz bands. Dish already has radio contracts with Fujitsu and MTI, with most of the radios to date being delivered by Fujitsu. Samsung thus becomes Dish’s third radio vendor. Without doubt, this is another major win for Samsung in the Tier-1 RAN market following similar multi-billion contract awards with Verizon and Vodafone. However, Counterpoint Research believes that the Korean vendor will play a bigger role at Dish as it can help Dish in a number of ways.
One of Dish’s key challenges right now is resolving its VoNR integration issues. Unlike Rakuten, Dish is not a technology company and so the addition of a mega tech company such as Samsung should be a major boost to the company. Samsung is also a major device manufacturer and Dish may well be relying on the Korean vendor expertise to resolve many of its systems integration issues.
Key Takeaway No. 1: Falling subscribers
Dish continued to lose a sizeable number of its pre-paid wireless customers during the quarter, even though the transition from T-Mobile’s CDMA network has ended. In fact, Dish estimates that the CDMA debacle has cost the company around $500 million directly and another $1 billion indirectly. Pay-TV subscribers are also falling.
With T-Mobile’s CDMA network shutdown, Dish should now be able to use its marketing resources to attract new customers rather than dealing with CDMA-related customer issues. Counterpoint Research believes that it is imperative that Dish demonstrates that is has stabilised its pre-paid customer base during the next few weeks and months and that it has a strategy in place to attract new users. For example, the company recently announced that it is expanding its distribution efforts in Walmart and Best-Buy retail stores. Dish also needs to slow the decline in its pay-TV subscriber base.
The complete version of this article, including the full set of key takeaways, is published in the following 5G Insights Report, available to clients of Counterpoint Research’s 5G Network Infrastructure Service:
Table of Contents
Key Earnings Data
Samsung – More than a radio vendor?
Spectrum News – 800 MHz and Band 70
Handset Availability – iPhone 14, etc.
Business Strategy Update
-Post Paid Retail
-Fixed Wireless Access