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DISH Network (DISH) Inks 7 New Tower Deals to Expand 5G Framework

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DISH Network (DISH - Free Report) recently announced that it has entered into seven new tower agreements to expand its 5G wireless infrastructure.

DISH’s new tower partners are Harmoni Towers, Mobilite, Parallel Infrastructure, Phoenix Tower International (PTI), Tillman Infrastructure, Tower Ventures and Vogue Towers.

Notably, DISH will gain access to more than 4,000 towers and wireless infrastructure assets, along with various services to drive rapid installation of 5G radios on the newly-added infrastructure through these partnerships.

Meanwhile, DISH’s shares have lost 0.3% year to date compared with the Zacks Cable Television industry’s decline of 1.8%. Subscriber loss in DISH’s Pay-TV and Sling TV businesses, primarily due to the coronavirus crisis, remain an overhang on the company’s performance.


Solid 5G Network Partner Base Boosts Prospects

The recently-announced tower agreements add to the string of deals signed by DISH with multiple vendors to help the company develop the nation’s first cloud-native, Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) compliant 5G network.  

In November 2020, the company entered into a multi-year agreement with Crown Castle (CCI - Free Report) , making the latter DISH’s first tower partner. Per the deal, DISH would receive space on up to 20,000 communication towers on lease and specific fiber transport services, along with an option to get pre-construction services from Crown Castle.

The company also entered into agreements with four fiber vendors — Uniti (UNIT - Free Report) , Everstream, Segra and Zayo. These agreements will provide DISH front haul and back haul support to connect its 5G network to sites, which covers nearly 60 million Americans.

Moreover, earlier this month, DISH signed a long-term deal with Vertical Bridge REIT, which gives the former access to the latter’s wide portfolio of infrastructure, consisting of towers, rooftops, utility transmission structures, billboards, convenience stores and other sites utilized for wireless infrastructure deployment.

DISH has also entered into partnerships with Intel (INTC - Free Report) , Qualcomm, Hansen Technologies, DigitalRoute, Fujitsu, Altiostar, VMware, Mavenir, MATRIXX Software and Ciena division, Blue Planet for software, Business Support Systems (BSS) or Operations Support Systems (OSS), and 5G radios. These partnerships strengthen DISH’s 5G network and boost its 5G prospects.

Markedly, DISH set foot in the retail wireless market through the buyouts of Boost Mobile and Ting Mobile. In the third quarter of 2020, the company acquired more than 9 million subscribers as a result of the Boost Mobile buyout and more than 200,000 subscribers as a result of The Ting Mobile’s acquisition.

Nonetheless, the pandemic-induced economic slowdown has negatively impacted DISH’s Pay-TV subscriber addition rate, particularly commercial accounts, including disruptions in the hospitality and airline industries.

In third-quarter 2020, this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company reported a 6.2% year-over-year decline in Pay-TV subscribers. DISH TV and Sling TV subscribers also slipped 5.6% and 8.5%, year over year, respectively.

Nevertheless, the company’s focus on acquiring and retaining subscribers, who are profitable over the long term, along with an extensive portfolio of spectrum and an expanding partner base to build its 5G network, will likely propel growth in the upcoming period.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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