Dish Network booked a $253 million impairment charge after it dropped plans to complete deployment of an NB-IoT network to focus on its 5G network and entrance into the US wireless market.
The NB-IoT network was originally intended to help Dish Network meet construction deadlines associated with its spectrum licences, with Ericsson contracted to handle the deployment.
During an earnings call, Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen said abandoning its $500 million investment in the NB-IoT network was “not great, but the right thing to do”, with the company instead aiming to deliver a 5G network which will “be the envy of the world”.
Dish Network noted its decision came after the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) extended the operator’s deadlines as part of its approval of T-Mobile US and Sprint’s merger.
The impairment charge covers assets which will not be reused as part of its 5G plan.
Executives noted 5G vendor selection is ongoing and it expects to spend between $250 million and $500 million on mobile projects in 2020.
Ergen said it aims to launch prepaid service in at least one market by the year-end, with post-paid to follow in 2021. He said the earliest an acquisition of Sprint’s Boost Mobile prepaid assets would happen is 1 June.
Net profit fell to $73.1 million in Q1 from $339.8 million in the same period of 2019, with revenue up from $3.19 billion to $3.22 billion.