Dish Network Is A Hot Mess After Major Hack Attack
Satellite TV provider Dish Network isn’t having much fun. Despite oodles of direct government assistance during the Trump era, the company’s attempt to pivot from mediocre satellite TV provider to modern streaming service and wireless giant has been a hot mess.
The company lost another 552,000 pay TV subscribers during the last quarter. In part thanks to the continuing trend of cord cutting, but also because the company was hacked so completely a few months back, it took Dish’s systems (including customer support) completely offline for days. It took the better part of a week for the company to even admit it was compromised.
While Dish is supposed to be migrating satellite TV customers to its streaming TV service (Sling TV) and its wireless service (creatively named Dish Wireless), that’s… not really happening. A big chunk of the 552k TV defections (234,000) were from its streaming TV service. The company also lost 343,000 wireless customers. Customers apparently weren’t a fan of fourteen hour hold times:
On a morning analyst call, Dish Network execs said the fallout from a previously-disclosed network outage in February due to a cybersecurity attack fell most heavily on Sling TV, as late fees for monthly invoices were waived after payment systems and call centers went offline.
While the hack will be a useful excuse, things were already a mess at Dish. The company is burning through cash as it struggles to follow through on its pledge to build a functional 5G network and become a major player in the streaming TV and wireless sectors.
Recall: Dish’s 5G plans were used by the Trump administration to feebly justify rubber stamping the competition-eroding Sprint/T-Mobile merger (something the FCC did without reading analysis about the deal’s impact). Trump DOJ “antitrust enforcer” actively and personally worked with Dish and T-Mobile to ensure regulatory approval for a questionable deal (not how antitrust “enforcement” is supposed to work).
Dish is supposed to adhere to continually pushed back FCC requirements to build a useful 5G network, but again, those who’ve actually used the network say it’s a bit of a joke. Coverage is sparse, device selection is a laugh, and even trying to sign up for service is a monumental challenge. When it comes time for the (intentionally) gridlocked FCC to hold Dish accountable, they assuredly won’t.
Telecom industry trade magazines amusingly refuse to candidly call this bumbling pivot attempt out for the obvious mess it is, and still like to pretend this doesn’t end with a likely fire sale of half-built networks and hugely valuable spectrum assets (after stringing regulators along another few years, of course). Which I’d still posit could have very likely been the escape plan for CEO Charlie Ergen all along.