The Dish on DISH: Carriers Claim Plates are Full with Spectrum

Suspicions that DISH Network will be building out its own wireless network has led to a steep depreciation of its stock. Although the company spent most of the year under speculation that it would be acquired by Verizon Communications, CEOs from both companies indicated a merger would not take place, says Multichannel.com.

Subsequently, DISH’s stock prices have fallen 21 percent since July 2017, to $52.15 a share. While 13.3 million satellite subscribers, an over-the-top television platform, and several wireless licenses had made the company an attractive possibility in the past, analysts claim the company is losing business and will continue to decrease in value as carriers no longer have the broadcast spectrum to draw from.

Although analysts have praised DISH for its wise spectrum investments, the company’s spectrum is losing value. Only last year, DISH’s spectrum was worth an estimated $40 billion. However, that number dropped quickly after Q2 2017 results, Multichannel.com reported. Tom Eagan, media analyst with Telsey Advisory Group, believes the spectrum is worth $26 billion now. The fall in price is astonishing considering the growth and potential of wireless, but carriers are either not interested in more spectrum, or already entangled in other mergers.  

Eagan believes the company has a few opportunities, even though its current business model is failing. Among the most exciting, is blocking a Sprint/T-Mobile merger to negotiate for more wireless spectrum, which it could use in another deal with Amazon. It could also build out using its own spectrum, as wireless becomes a more popular delivery option for cable television providers. Whatever DISH decides to do with its spectrum, it will need to do quickly. Federal regulations require it to build out its spectrum to 70 percent of the country by 2020, or lose its carefully attained licenses.

October 4, 2017     

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