EchoStar’s Dish to try again in postpaid 5G later this year – Light Reading

3 minutes, 25 seconds Read

Officials from EchoStar’s Dish Network acknowledged Wednesday that the company’s first foray into the postpaid market for 5G services wasn’t ideal. And they said the company is preparing to try again later this year.

“Our initial approach to the market was rushed,” said Hamid Akhavan, president and CEO of EchoStar. EchoStar is now the parent company of Dish Network, which primarily sells 5G in the US under the Boost brand. Akhavan is currently the interim head of Dish’s Boost-branded wireless retail business.

During EchoStar’s quarterly conference call, Akhavan said Dish initially focused most of its efforts on building an open RAN 5G network and did not spend enough time figuring out how to take that network to market.

“We realize that’s a critical part of the business,” Akhavan said, explaining that Dish didn’t line up sufficient services and support for its early postpaid offering. For example, he said the company in the first quarter of 2024 launched international roaming services for its postpaid service – a capability that should have been available when Dish first launched its postpaid offerings. “We do expect to do a better job” in the future, he said.

Akhavan said Dish will re-enter the US postpaid market for wireless services sometime in the second half of 2024.

Dish first launched its Boost Infinite postpaid service at the end of 2022. The company then began pushing the offering heavily at the end of 2023 with a nationwide advertising campaign coupled with a noteworthy iPhone promotion.

In the US wireless industry, postpaid pricing plans are generally those that customers pay for after they use services. They’re different from the prepaid services that customers typically pay for prior to using services. Most of Dish’s current 7.3 million wireless customers subscribe to prepaid plans, but postpaid customers are generally considered more valuable.

The financing

EchoStar reported relatively unsurprising first-quarter financial results Wednesday, showing ongoing customer losses in its wireless, satellite and pay-TV businesses.

During the company’s quarterly conference call, officials touted EchoStar’s efforts to improve its financial efficiency. In recent months, the company has engaged in a series of layoffs and other cost-cutting efforts.

“After yet another quarter of cash burn and subscriber losses – all of which were broadly in line with expectations, by the way – there is little reason to believe that EchoStar has a path to remain a long-term going concern,” wrote the financial analysts at MoffettNathanson in their summary of EchoStar’s first quarter results. “And so, yet again, we are left to ponder EchoStar’s salvage value in a liquidation.”

Company officials reiterated that EchoStar is a “going concern” and that the company will need more money by November to meet its debt obligations.

“We continue to work on a number of avenues,” Akhavan said of EchoStar’s fund-raising efforts. He described that process as “complex and delicate” and said it “demands confidentiality.”

The situation is complex enough that some of Dish’s bondholders recently sued the company. Dish said it would “vigorously” defend itself in court.

“Ultimately, the most likely outcome is a negotiated settlement with bondholders that lowers debt outstanding, pushes out maturities, and puts new cash on the balance sheet,” speculated the financial analysts with New Street Research in a note to investors Wednesday.

The 5G network

In Dish’s 5G business specifically, company officials said there are now “hundreds of thousands” of customers on the company’s open RAN 5G network. That network covers roughly 70% of the US population, or 240 million people.

The remainder of Dish’s 7.3 million wireless customers sit on the networks of the company’s two MVNO partners: T-Mobile and AT&T.

However, Dish’s John Swieringa said the company is working to migrate more customers onto its own 5G network. He explained that five out of every 10 devices Dish activated during the first quarter were capable of connecting to the company’s 5G network; three of those five devices were directly connected to Dish’s 5G network.

“We’re focused on loading the network,” he said. But he declined to provide further details, such as the amount of data traveling over Dish’s network.

Interestingly, Dish, for the first time, reported the quarterly service revenues it derived from its 5G network. The amount? $4,000.

This post was originally published on the 3rd party mentioned in the title ofthis site

Similar Posts