Dish’s Hopes of Building Fourth 5G Network Under Scrutiny

Concerns are mounting about Dish’s plans to build a 5G wireless network to compete with AT&T, Verizon, and the newly merged T-Mobile. Originally slated for a 2023 launch, Dish’s emergence as a fourth wireless competitor was a key component of the federal government’s approval of the recent T-Mobile/Sprint merger. However, the ongoing coronavirus and its widespread economic impacts have cast more doubt on the company’s ability to realize those plans in time.

Market research firm MoffetNathanson reportedly cut its target price for Dish in half — from $30 down to $15. In an investors note, the firm mentioned building out a 5G network would’ve been hard enough, but the pandemic has only made things more difficult.

Among the potential penalties for Dish if it does not meet the 2023 deadline are some $2 billion in fines and returning $12 billion in spectrum, according to the New York Post. The risks have some predicting Dish could request more time from the government, citing the pandemic and the hardships it’s experienced.

So far, Dish has not made any recent announcements or updates regarding its 5G ambitions, but earlier this week, it did announce it was laying off an undisclosed number of employees.

“The pandemic has forced us to take a closer look at every aspect of our business, at our work volumes, our areas of focus and investments, and the performance of our team members,” Erik Carlson, Dish chief executive officer, reportedly wrote in a memo to employees.

We’ll continue to monitor Dish and its plans to become a challenger in the wireless space and we’ll keep you updated as we hear more.

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