It’s no big secret that T-Mobile and Sprint had to jump through a bunch of regulatory hoops, clear numerous legal hurdles, and pull quite a few political strings over a period of almost two years to finally close their high-profile and highly divisive merger a couple of weeks ago.
Dish finds itself in a delicate financial situation
But whether Dish was initially serious or not about following through on pledges made to the DOJ, a largely unforeseen event is now making it unlikely that the company will be able to stick to its original 5G rollout schedule. Obviously, we’re talking about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has created an unstable financial climate essentially worldwide.
5G launch delays seem unavoidable all of a sudden
At the very least, it’s looking pretty much guaranteed that the “timeline” for this nationwide wireless network buildout is “going to get pushed back”, according to a former FCC special counsel quoted by the same aforementioned publication. But any delay could cost Dish dearly under the terms of its 2019 agreement with the Department of Justice.
That hoarding strategy was precisely the reason why analysts warned of Ergen’s unreliability in the first place, but naturally, the situation is entirely different now. Unfortunately, we may never know if Dish’s Chairman intended to meet the DOJ’s deadline and fulfil his initial promises. Furthermore, the company might be able to get an extension and avoid financial penalties on a provision of its deal with the Department of Justice naming “an act of God” as an acceptable excuse for a 5G rollout delay.
It remains to be seen if said clause will be invoked, and in fact, if there’s any truth to rumors of delays and uncertainties to begin with.