Dish Network has reportedly cut jobs and begun re-evaluating its operations as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted its business.
According to Reuters, CEO Erik Carlson sent a memo to employees over the weekend. The company hasn’t confirmed how many employees will be laid off, but the publication noted that Dish had 16,000 employees as of Dec. 31, 2019.
“The pandemic has forced us to take a closer look at every aspect of our business, at our work volumes, our areas of focus and investments, and the performance of our team members,” wrote Carlson. “I want you to hear directly from me that we’ve made a series of difficult decisions to reevaluate parts of our business, particularly within In Home Services.”
Like DirecTV and competing cable and telecom providers, Dish Network has been steadily losing video subscribers over the past few years. During the most recent quarter, Dish reported a total net pay TV subscriber loss of approximately 194,000. That included a first-ever quarterly subscriber decline for Sling TV, the company’s long-running streaming TV service.
“This decrease in net Sling TV subscriber additions is primarily related to increased competition, including competition from other OTT service providers, and to a higher number of customer disconnects on a larger Sling TV subscriber base, including the impact from Univision, AT&T and Fox RSNs’ removal of certain of their channels from our programming lineup, discussed above,” the company wrote in an SEC filing.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis began hurting Dish Network’s business, the company was working on pivoting toward wireless. The satellite provider has built up a trove of wireless spectrum that it won at FCC auctions and now it’s under regulatory deadlines to build a 5G network.
Dish was an integral factor in T-Mobile’s recently completed acquisition of Sprint and Dish is now being positioned to become a fourth national wireless provider. Dish also committed to extended FCC timelines and promised to cover 70% of the U.S. population with 5G by June 2023.