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How DISH Will Deal with Broadband Subscriber Losses

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Broadband subscriber trend

Leading satellite TV operator DISH Network (DISH) has continued to witness broadband subscriber losses in the last few quarters.

In 3Q17, the company lost ~50,000 net broadband subscribers compared to its loss of 20,000 in the previous year’s quarter. Such a fall in subscriber additions was primarily attributable to a decline in the number of new activations.

In the graph above, we can see the company’s broadband subscriber losses over the last five quarters. During this period, DISH has maintained a falling trend.

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In the last three quarters of 2017, the satellite giant reported a total loss of nearly 121,000 broadband users compared to 30,000 in the same period in 2016. However, the company finished 3Q17 with 590,000 broadband subscribers, a rise of 29.2% YoY (year-over-year) with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 6.6% in the last five quarters.

Broadband headwinds and solutions

According to the master service agreement entered between DISH and Hughes, the former will stop promoting its dishNET broadband satellite services provided on a wholesale basis by Hughes. DISH believes that such an agreement will further affect its broadband subscriber additions in the near term.

The company offers its broadband service through the dishNET brand to rural customers in the United States. In a bid to offer strong nationwide broadband coverage, DISH has struck a partnership with the high-powered satellite services of Hughes Communications and Viasat (VSAT).

Unlike AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ), which offer triple- and quadruple-play services at lightning speed, DISH lacks such services, which makes it vulnerable to stiff competition. The company has a huge spectrum portfolio and is already planning to launch its 5G (fifth-generation) wireless service. Such a move may help it to offset its broadband subscriber losses going forward.

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