The companies, both owned by Charlie Ergen, have reportedly hired advisors to detail how the merger could play out
EchoStar Communications, once a distributor of satellite television equipment, was founded by Ergen in 1980. In 2008, the company was renamed Dish Network after its consumer arm, and its satellite assets were carved out as a separate unit that retained the name Echostar. After some reorganisation over the past decade, today Dish Network controls the broadcast satellite services and the company’s growing 5G network, while Echostar is the satellite communications provider.
Now, according to a recent report from Semafor, the two companies are considering recombining their operations, with both engaging financial advisors to explore the possibility.
According to the report, Dish debt stands at a staggering $22 billion, while EchoStar is relatively financially healthy. Therefore, it would appear that the motivations behind the rumoured merger are financial in nature, helping to reinforce Dish’s shaky cashflow.
There have been no official comments from either company, or Ergen himself.
Dish is currently facing a decline in consumers, losing over half a million pay TV subscribers in the first quarter of this year. On top of that, they are spending $10 billion on the rollout of their Open RAN-based 5G network.
The company recently hit the target of 70% population coverage (240 million people) set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); however, much of their traffic is still carried over T-Mobile and AT&T’s networks as part of their Mobile Virtual Network Operator agreements.
Another FCC deadline is looming, requiring the company’s network to reach 75% of the US population by 2025, for which another $2–3 billion will be needed.