Dish profit tops estimates as fewer pay-TV subscribers drop out

Dish has been struggling to retain subscribers as customers shift to online streaming services

(Reuters) - U.S. satellite TV provider Dish Network Corp's quarterly results beat Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, as it lost fewer pay-TV subscribers.

Dish has been struggling to retain subscribers for its pay-TV business, as customers shift to online streaming services including those from Netflix Inc, Walt Disney Co and Apple Inc.

The company's pay-TV business, which includes satellite TV and Sling TV, lost a net of 194,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, fewer than the 334,000 it lost a year earlier.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DISH DISH NETWORK CORP. 40.04 -1.12 -2.72%

The company lost 94,000 subscribers in its Sling TV streaming service in the quarter, compared with an addition of 47,000 during the same period last year.

DISH CHAIRMAN EYES DEEP-POCKETED TECH COMPANIES AS POSSIBLE INVESTORS IN 5G BUILDOUT

Dish awaits the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint Corp, as the companies received the green light from a federal judge last week to complete the deal. The merger includes Dish acquiring Sprint's prepaid businesses to create the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the United States.

A satellite dish from Dish Network is pictured along with satellite dishes from Direct TV in Pasadena, California, in 2016.

The merger puts Dish in the race for the next generation of wireless. Dish said that it would cost $10 billion to build out its virtualized 5G network, pitting it against larger wireless competitors Verizon Communications and AT&T Inc.

T-MOBILE-SPRINT'S $26B DEAL APPROVED BY JUDGE, STOCKS SPIKE

The company said that it expects to spend between $500 million and $1 billion for its wireless build-out in 2020.

Dish has committed to providing 5G to at least 70% of the U.S. population by 2023. If the company misses its deadline, it will face up to $2.2 billion in fines from the Federal Communications Commission.

Net income attributable to the company rose to $389 million, or 69 cents per share, from $337 million, or 64 cents per share, in the previous year.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 59 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE 

Total revenue fell 2.1% to $3.24 billion in the quarter from $3.31 billion a year earlier, beating analysts' average estimate of $3.15 billion.

(Reporting by Ambhini Aishwarya in Bengaluru and Arriana McLymore in New York; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Steve Orlofsky)