The decision to halt its IoT activities has cost the company $253 million in impairment charges

Alongside its latest financial update, Dish has announced that it is no longer continuing with its narrowband (NB) IoT network deployment, instead choosing for focus on wireless, especially its 5G network.

Dish had planned on investing $500 million into its IoT network to help meet construction deadlines linked to spectrum lincences, but the Federal Communication Commission (FCC)’s decision to extend the operator’s deadline as part of the approval of the Sprint–T-Mobile merger has left the IoT deployment far less useful.

Dish chairman and founder Charlie Ergen said the decision was “not great, but the right thing to do.” 

The abandonment of the IoT network will cost Dish around $253 million in charges, which represent the IoT assets which will ultimately no longer be used as part of Dish’s 5G network.

“We no longer intend to finish our narrowband IoT build. Accordingly, we recorded impairment in the quarter from the narrowband IoT assets and satellites that we currently do not plan to use in our 5G build,” said Dish CFO Paul Orban.

Instead of the IoT focus, Dish will now begin investing more heavily in mobile, projecting expenditure of between $250 million and $500 million in this sector this year. Dish hopes to launch prepaid mobile service in at least one market this year. 

“We’re building a state-of-the-art network, we’re aligned with the FCC, we’re aligned with the executive branch, we aligned with both houses of Congress on where that needs to go. And we have a timeline that says that’s manageable to do that,” said Ergen.

Ergen also noted that Dish is still in the process of purchasing Sprint’s Boost for around $1.4 billion, with the deal closing at the start of June at the earliest. 


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