Dish logoSource: Dish

What you need to know

  • Dish chairman Charlie Ergen has said that his company's new wireless service will compete with the largest operators in the U.S. right from day one.
  • He added that it would be suicidal for the company not to build its own 5G network.
  • Dish is set to become the country's fourth major wireless player after T-Mobile's merger with Sprint is completed.

Dish Chairman and co-founder Charlie Ergen has revealed his plans (via CNET) for the company's wireless service and expressed confidence that it would be able to emerge as a strong rival to the new T-Mobile/Sprint entity. Ergen had testified earlier this week at an antitrust trial in New York as a witness called by T-Mobile. A coalition of state attorneys general are seeking to block T-Mobile's merger with Sprint, claiming that the deal would result in prices going up for consumers as it would reduce competition.

While the coalition of state attorneys general believe that Dish will be unable to replace Sprint, Ergen told U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero that his company's wireless service will compete with the three major carriers from day one. He added that three banks have already expressed interest in lending dish $10 billion to roll out its own 5G network.

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When asked if Dish could be trusted to build a 5G network, Ergen replied saying it would be "financial suicide" if the company failed to do so. Failing to meet the guidelines would mean Dish would have to pay fines and also lose all the spectrum that it spent billions of dollars to accumulate.

Ergen also told the court that Dish's wireless service will offer lower prices than what the existing players currently offer. And even though the company will start off with just a prepaid service, it plans to offer postpaid services as well to consumers with good credit. Dish is expecting its network to go live in the first city sometime next year. Once it begins expanding its network, the company will migrate its customers from T-Mobile's network.

T-Mobile almost merged with Dish back in 2015