Dish Stashing Cash for Its 4G Run

The latest Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) wireless drama starts off Thursday's cable news roundup.

  • Dish is waiting for the feds to provide final clearance for its new spectrum, but Chairman Charlie Ergen said the company remains steadfast in its desire to launch a standalone 4G wireless service. "We have to start the wireless business outside of Dish Network, then we'll fold it in," Ergen said this week at the Silicon Flatirons Center event in Boulder, Colo., according to The Denver Post. He's also not worried about speculation that Dish might need to spend $5 billion or more to build out a network on its own, though some analysts see that as a bluff, believing that Dish would much rather move forward by selling its spectrum and partnering with another carrier. "We've been saving our money, and we're prepared to go spend it," Ergen said, but acknowledged that it "would be a long shot that we could compete against AT&T and Verizon." Dish, by the way, ended 2011 with $2.04 billion in cash and cash equivalents. (See FCC Keeps Dish Spectrum Plan Alive .)

  • Infonetics Research Inc. says the market for video-on-demand servers and encoders grew 6 percent to $803 million last year after declines in 2009 and 2010. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. topped the VoD server market in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the full year, while Motorola Mobility LLC and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) were tied for global VoD revenues in the fourth quarter. Infonetics expects a double-digit percent revenue increase in the global video infrastructure market in 2012.

  • On the set-top end, Infonetics said 2011 shipments rose 13.7 percent, but revenues flattened, up just 1 percent, to $13.3 billion. Motorola, EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS), Pace plc and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) were all tightly packed atop the market in the fourth quarter in terms of set-top box revenue share.

  • Turner Broadcasting System Inc. 's Cartoon Network will amp up its TV Everywhere strategy later this year when it offers access to its live TV feed via its website and on iOS devices. Fellow Turner channel CNN has already launched its live TV streaming app, which requires users to subscribe to a pay-TV service.

  • StreamingMedia.com's Dan Rayburn blogs that Reed Hastings's net neutrality beef with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s streaming policy for the Xbox 360 has more to do with competition with Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) than the policy itself, since a sliver of Comcast customers come within shouting distance of the company's monthly 250-gigabyte usage cap. "When Netflix was flying high, with no competition, you never saw them whining in the market and their CEO wasn't complaining on his Facebook page," Rayburn wrote. (See FCC Indulges Netflix CEO and Netflix CEO Keeps Whining About Comcast.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:35:55 PM
    re: Dish Stashing Cash for Its 4G Run

    I still find it hard to believe that Dish would go at this alone, though Ergen's saying the right things while the FCC gets to work on a rulemaking that could clear the way for his spectrum. Cox tried it and look where that got them... exactly where most of the other major MSOs  with spectrum ended up ... working with Verizon Wireless. JB

    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:35:46 PM
    re: Dish Stashing Cash for Its 4G Run

    Ergen is a patient investor and clever strategist. But there is indeed a gap between the $2b on hand and $5b it could take to launch terrestrial service. Then there's the question of who would buy its 40 MHz if the FCC does exploit its approval of VZ's AWS to promulgate a new spectrum cap that that limits buyers' options, as Moffett has asked. What else can Ergen do besides posture and wait? Meanwhile, how's that Hopper doing?

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:35:45 PM
    re: Dish Stashing Cash for Its 4G Run

    Well, they'd certainly have to finance part of it, but that's also got investors sorta worried.... just in case they'd be crazy enough to try it.

    Not sure of Hopper sales, but Dish announced today they've got Pandora running on it. Meh. JB

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:35:43 PM
    re: Dish Stashing Cash for Its 4G Run

    Well, at least Charlie isn't kidding himself. Here's another quote from his talk regarding his wireless network build plans: "We will spend billions of dollars for sure."

    Also, if you want to check out Ergen's entire talk, Sanford C. Bernstein has helpfully sent along a link where the Webcast and a downloadable MP3 are available.  JB



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