DISH CEO Charlie Ergen is stepping down from his position to take over the US satellite company’s wireless business.
DISH president Erik Carlson will take over as CEO, although Ergen will remain in the role of chairman.
The company has accumulated wireless spectrum for several years and in several FCC auctions; most recently, it spent $6.2 billion last spring in the TV broadcast auction. Since 2008, DISH has spent more than $21 billion on wireless licensing and other investments.
“I have every confidence that under Erik’s leadership our new organisational structure will deliver value for DISH TV and Sling TV and will aid our entry into wireless,” Ergen said.
The assumption has been that DISH will either build out its own 4G/5G wireless network to deliver home broadband and mobile TV, build a 5G-based Internet of things (IoT) network or go into the leasing game. Whatever the case, it faces a deadline of 2020 to use the airwaves it picked up back in 2008 — it must either use them or lose them, according to FCC rules.