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 .)
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.
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.)