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Dish Network Is Betting Big on Its 5G Project

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Dec. 12 2018, Updated 12:49 p.m. ET

Time is running out for Dish to implement 5G

Dish Network (DISH) has seen falling fortunes this year, with its stock down 35% year-to-date. The reason why is simple: it’s continuing to lose satellite TV customers at a rapid rate. The cord-cutting trend is causing all pay-TV companies to lose subscribers to over-the-top companies such as Netflix (NFLX). In the last quarter, Dish lost a whopping 341,000 pay-TV subscribers, with Comcast (CMCSA) and Charter (CHTR) losing 106,000 and 66,000 subscribers, respectively.

Dish is also facing issues related to disagreements over carriage fees. In the last quarter, it faced issues related to carriage fees with AT&T’s (T) HBO network and Spanish-language TV network Univision.

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Dish is now betting big on the next generation of wireless technology, 5G. According to a report from Bloomberg, Dish’s chair, Charlie Ergen, says that 5G network capability is his “Manhattan Project.” The good news is that Dish has a huge wireless spectrum. It aims to make use of this spectrum by providing 5G wireless technology services to its customers.

The report mentions that Dish has time “until March 2020 to put some of the spectrum to use or risk losing it.” According to FierceWireless, T-Mobile (TMUS) has asked to the FCC “to strip the company of its vast spectrum holdings because Dish has no immediate plans to build out much of its spectrum.” Dish is under significant pressure to implement its next-generation wireless technology as soon as possible.

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