Dish Network has made no secret of late in their plan to pivot towards 5G. The company earlier this year completed its purchase of Boost Mobile for $1.4 billion, a transaction that grew out of the Sprint/T-Mobile merger, and facilitated in part by the government, and has been concentrating on building out a 5G network.
The company this week took another step in that direction, by announcing that it’s raising money to spend on its 5G buildout.
Dish announced in a press release Wednesday that it “plans to offer, subject to market and other conditions, $2 billion aggregate principal amount of convertible notes.” The notes, Dish said, “are intended to be used for general corporate purposes, including 5G network buildout costs.”
“The notes will be unsecured obligations of DISH Network,” the company said. “Upon any conversion, DISH Network will settle its conversion obligation in cash, shares of its Class A Common Stock, or a combination of cash and shares of its Class A Common Stock, at its election. The interest rate, the initial conversion rate, and other terms and conditions of the notes will be determined by negotiations between DISH Network and the initial purchaser of the notes.”
Dish is expected to launch its 5G network in the later part of 2021. The company has been losing huge amounts of video subscribers in each quarter this year, although its Sling TV service has been doing better. The company also recently announced that it is raising prices on each of its Dish plans in early 2021.
And while Dish Network’s CEO has frequently said that a merger of its satellite business with that of rival DirecTV is “inevitable,” Dish has not been involved in the recent talks by AT&T to sell off a stake in DirecTV, and government regulators have reportedly reacted negatively to the idea of a satellite merger.
Dish had announced a week earlier that it had successfully completed end-to-end 5G connections, using what it described as “the industry’s first O-RAN compliant FDD radio,” in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
“Working with our software partner Mavenir and our core vendor Nokia, we have successfully integrated the MTI radios with our cloud-native 5G network, and we are proud to announce that we have demonstrated on-air 5G connections through the industry's first Open RAN-compliant FDD radio,” Marc Rouanne, DISH’s Executive Vice President and Chief Network Officer, said in the December 7 release.
“MTI has been a trusted DISH partner for nearly 30 years. We have been working very closely on the development of this radio with MTI, and the deployment of the O-RAN architecture will benefit both DISH and our customers.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.