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Ergen says Dish will make the bundle mobile

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 2:26pm
The Associated Press

Charlie Ergen, the billionaire who controls Dish Network, has a 10-year plan to transform the satellite TV provider into a one-stop shop for Internet access, video and voice services – at home and on the go.

Ergen said that no major telecommunications company has figured out how to combine all of those things in one package in the United States. Cable TV operators provide data, video and voice services in the home but don't mimic that offering on mobile devices.

Cell phone carriers are great at mobile data and voice but have made only small inroads providing video signals to homes.

Ergen told the Milken Institute Global Conference on Tuesday that his company is trying to provide all three major services to homes and on mobile devices within 10 years.

"When we go install video in your home, we can say, 'No matter where you are, you can take that video with you,'" Ergen said. "You can also get your broadband and make your voice calls."

"It doesn't have to be that you drop three calls in New York City, and it doesn't have to be that you get your bill and you don't understand it," he said. "We can change that."

Dish has gradually been compiling the assets that it needs to make such an all-encompassing service possible.

On the video end, it already has deals with large TV networks through Dish, and it bought struggling video rental chain Blockbuster out of bankruptcy in April 2011 to bolster its ties to movie studios.

In March, Dish, based in Englewood, Colo., completed its purchase of two satellite operators: DBSD North America and TerreStar Networks, whose wireless licenses it hopes to use to offer broadband Internet access. Both offer satellite-based wireless services and have authority to operate ground-based services as a backup.

And Dish has entered into a strategic partnership with C Spire Wireless in which customers who subscribe to both services can access Dish’s live TV programming on their smartphones and tablets using the Dish Remote Access app or Dish’s online portal.

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