from the things-are-going-great,-thanks-for-asking dept
As we just noted, satellite TV provider Dish Network’s planned pivot into streaming video and wireless isn’t going great. The company continues to bleed traditional satellite TV subscribers, new streaming subscribers, and wireless customers. And the company’s supposed 5G network (spawned during the Trump FCC era) has, by most accounts, proven to be a bit of an expensive joke.
As usual, the folks that pay for this kind of incompetence are consumers and employees, and not the executives making the actual decisions. And not surprisingly, Dish is quietly pushing another round of layoffs as it attempts to tighten its belt. Dish, as one does, is pretending this has nothing to do with the growing talk of potential bankruptcy as it burns through cash:
According to several sources familiar with the company’s activities, Dish Network has been eliminating jobs to reduce its overall expenses amid financing woes.
The extent of the cuts is not clear. When asked about job cuts by Light Reading, Dish didn’t deny the cuts but didn’t address them directly.
“Like most businesses, we continually evaluate and adjust our workforce to meet the needs of our business,” according to a Dish representative. “While there may be fluctuations on some teams due to functional demands and performance issues, we are actively hiring throughout the company.”
Recall, Dish Network’s 5G plan was the brainchild of Trump-era “antitrust enforcers” who went out of their way to coddle the companies involved. They used the deal to flimsily justify the competition-eroding impact of letting Sprint and T-Mobile merge (reducing major players in U.S. wireless from four to three) by giving Dish some T-Mobile spectrum and encouraging them to build a nationwide 5G network.
But from the start things didn’t go particularly well (as we predicted). Dish quickly began to squabble with T-Mobile. Delays plagued the 5G network build. And while the resulting 5G network technically exists, reviews have generally been laughably bad, noting spotty coverage, limited phone choice, and numerous customer service problems (made worse by a recent hack that crippled the company for months).
Dish technically recently met an FCC merger requirement that its network “reach” 70 percent of the U.S. public (most of which are centered in major cities). But now things get more difficult for Dish as it tries to meet the next FCC goal of 75 percent of the public by 2025. That involves deploying in more difficult and costly rural and suburban areas. Not easy for a company facing major cash woes.
I still wager, as I did from the start, that this whole thing ends with Dish selling off its massive spectrum holdings and half-finished network to somebody like Verizon, the feckless FCC doling out a pathetic wrist slap, and CEO Charlie Ergen wandering off into the retirement sunset with a giant bag of money. I’m still not sure that stringing regulators along while spectrum values appreciated wasn’t the exit strategy all along.