Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen defended its ability to rapidly become a force in the US mobile market, detailing plans to launch an initial offer within 30 days following the close of T-Mobile US and Sprint’s proposed merger, LightShed Partners analyst Walter Piecyk revealed in a series of tweets.
In testimony during an ongoing court battle between T-Mobile, Sprint and US attorney generals, Ergen reportedly said Dish Network aims to launch 5G in 2020 and hit back at scepticism from the attorneys in the case and Rural Wireless Association over its ability to mount a real challenge to established players.
Dish Network is a pivotal element in T-Mobile and Sprint’s argument their merger should be approved, with the pair using a deal to divest assets to the satellite TV service provider to convince the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to clear the tie-up.
Conditions set by the DoJ include offering Dish Network MVNO access to T-Mobile’s network for seven years. But Ergen said the company plans to quickly deploy its own infrastructure, expecting to build 10,000 towers by the end of 2022.
Dish Network’s internal estimate of the cost to build its 5G network is between $8 billion and $10 billion, he said. The executive added the company had already received letters from three different financial partners confirming they could each provide $10 billion to fund construction.
The Wall Street Journal reported Ergen noted Dish Network faces stiff financial penalties and the loss of its spectrum assets if it doesn’t meet network commitments made to federal regulators. A failure to perform “would be financial suicide, and we’re not suicidal”.
Arguments in the trial are expected to be completed by 23 December.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back