If you follow the broadcasting space at all, then you know that DISH Network has amassed over $20 billion in wireless spectrum over the last few years. What you may not know is that the SEC has given DISH a deadline of March 2020, or they’ll reclaim those spectrum holdings and DISH will be left with nothing but debt. Given what’s at stake here, you would expect DISH to have a concrete plan to meet those goals, unfortunately it looks like they don’t, and the SEC is starting to grow concerned.
DISH Network’s CEO, Charlie Ergen, has voiced plans to use those spectrum holdings to create a 5G wireless network. Unfortunately, experts predict that actually creating that network infrastructure will cost about $10 billion. Some experts have even gone so far as to say that it will actually cost upwards of $20 billion. Ergen has said that won’t be a problem, but when all is said and done DISH only has about $2 billion in cash on hand.
The SEC sent a letter earlier this summer that made it clear that DISH has missed several of the milestone deadlines they had set up to make sure they are on track for deploying that network. By missing all of those deadlines it is very likely that the SEC will move up the deadline from March 2020 so DISH can demonstrate that they can do something with their holdings.
Predictably, this has had a significant impact on DISH Network’s stock. The scepticism of investors have driven the broadcasting giant’s stock down by half during the last year alone. Failing to the meet the SEC mandated deadlines will result in DISH having to forfeit all of their holdings, for nothing in return.
However this story works out, it will have massive ramifications on the broadcasting space. DISH holds more holdings than anyone at this point, and they’re poised to create the most state-of-the-art wireless system ever before seen by the common consumer.