Kagan: Dish has unique, one-time opportunity entering 5G wireless

A couple years ago T-Mobile US acquired Sprint with the help of Dish Network who wanted to get into wireless themselves. Word was, Dish was going to become the fourth largest wireless provider. We expected to see them rapidly building 5G throughout the country, launch their service and be a real competitor. However, since that time Dish has been quiet. Too quiet.

Now, Dish says they will launch 5G in 25 markets by June. The marketplace expected Dish to enter wireless as a small competitor. Then we expected them to continue to build going forward with the potential to grow into the fourth largest wireless competitor.

They had an opportunity over the last couple years with advertising, public relations and marketing to create and carve out a space for themselves in the wireless industry.

We expected them to be building their brand and name recognition in the wireless space. Something that has simply not happened.

However, they have been disappointingly quiet. Now, most have forgotten about them entering wireless.

That was a wasted opportunity for Dish.

Dish Network has been too quiet in 5G wireless entry

This could change if they do, in fact launch by June, and if they enter in the right way! However, I am not sure they understand the scope of the risk and the opportunity and what they need to do to capture the imagination of the marketplace.

Over the past several decades I have consulted with all the major wireless competitors and quite a few smaller players as well. This has given me the opportunity to evaluate their leadership and accurately predict their future.

I do expect to see Dish launch by June because of the commitments they made to the FCC.

They said that they would offer service to at least 20% of the population by June 2022. They also said that would be expanded to 70% by June 2023.

However, we expected them to launch a long time ago in one market then the next and be up to 20% by June.

However, Dish apparently had other plans. They intend to do nothing in the marketplace then all of a sudden launch in the entire 20% overnight and hope for the best.

This is a big gamble on their part. You see building and turning up a wireless network that works well, then convincing the marketplace to sign up is not easy.

I think they should expect plenty of problems and issues to bubble up especially during the first couple years until they get everything under control and working well.

Charlie Ergen and Erik Carlson say Dish is six months behind schedule

Chairman Charlie Ergen said Dish is 6 months behind schedule. He took the blame saying he did not anticipate everything they had to do on the network side. That is honorable.

CEO Erik Carlson says they will meet the FCC commitment. That is hopeful. Remember, we have seen nothing yet.

Dish has been struggling with the enormous task of piecing together the executive team, building out the network and learning the ropes of the wireless industry.

Dish has one-time wireless opportunity if they know about it

Dish does have a one-time advantage when they launch compared to Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and AT&T Mobility. This is a real opportunity.

The question is, do they understand what that opportunity is?

Dish is starting from scratch. That means they are installing the newest equipment rather than upgrading from 4G to 5G.

They are also the big unknown. This gives them a unique opportunity to create their own playing field rather than jumping into the current wireless model.

They can create their own plan on which they can execute.

So far, they have not been taking advantage of this initial edge, building confidence in their services and potential impact on the industry.

I hope they recognize this rare, one-time opportunity.

Questions surrounding Dish ability to succeed in 5G wireless

There are so many questions the marketplace has:

·      How will Dish use this first-time advantage in their marketing, advertising and PR?

·      Does Dish understand the wireless world?

·      Do they know how to compete and win?

·      Do they understand how to build and operate a high-quality and reliable 5G wireless network?

·      Do they understand what it takes to win in the wireless marketplace?

·      Do they understand why other companies like Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft failed in their entry to wireless?

·      Do they understand why Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile initially failed in wireless?

·      Do they understand how to break customers away from their current wireless provider?

Plus, there are many more questions that customers, workers and investors need to get an answer to before they will have confidence in Dish success by getting into the mobility space.

Dish mobile has a unique, one-time opportunity to win in 5G wireless

Dish has a unique, one-time opportunity for growth at their disposal. They can play by their own rules. However, it is important for them to jump on this opportunity right from the start.

So far, they have not. I sure hope they don’t blow this opportunity.

You see, the wireless world has been with us for decades. It has grown and changed over time. Today, customers, investors and workers all think they have a good handle on wireless.

If Dish jumps into this existing world as just another competitor, they will struggle from the start to gain market share and grow slowly.

However, if they can re-create a new path using marketing, advertising and public relations, they can re-write the rules of the wireless industry.

Dish needs to follow T-Mobile US and write their own rules for success

This is what T-Mobile tried to do and showed a certain level of success.

This is what Dish needs to do as well. It can only help them since they are an unknown in the wireless world.

That means they must be different. They must be attractive to users and investors. They must offer something that others do not. They must appear different and leverage that difference.

Whether that be an actual difference or just the perception of an actual difference.

Dish must create new promise to marketplace then keep that promise

Remember, initial success comes from convincing the marketplace you are something different and special.

Then you must deliver on that promise to the customer, or they will leave disappointed.

That’s why it is critical that Dish find the right balance and message for their launch. I am sure the executives at Dish are all excited about launching their wireless service.

However, what they must understand is the marketplace is not excited. In fact, the marketplace has virtually forgotten about Dish getting into wireless.

Marketplace has forgotten about Dish mobile getting into wireless

That’s because they have simply been too quiet over the last couple years and that will hurt them.

Not being a marketer in the pay TV world over the last couple decades was one thing. Their competition was cable TV companies like Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum and Altice. None of these were focused on marketing either back then.

Today, they are. And in the wireless industry especially, advertising, marketing and public relations is key to success. Key.

Users have already found the best service for them through trial and error.

The initial view of the marketplace of Dish entering the wireless space is that it is just a beginner.

That means there may be plenty of missteps along the way. Especially in the early days after launch. And these missteps will continue as Dish executives learn the wireless industry from the view of an upstart.

And let’s be clear… Dish mobile is an upstart. They have quite a bit to prove to the marketplace.

Dish must create and share plan to measure success

That’s why it is vital they create their own plan from which the marketplace can and will measure them and their progress.

Dish should not compete directly against Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T. Not from the beginning.

If they do, unless they completely blow past expectations, they will be looked at as a small company who is trying to break in.

This is a mistake. You never want to launch as the little guy. You want to launch as a giant in the minds of the marketplace.

Will Dish mobile be a wireless giant?

This is something they should have been focused on with advertising, PR and marketing during the last couple years.

So far, their quiet nature has not helped them in the very loud wireless industry.

Dish mobile should create their own playbook. This should be based on the goals they know they can achieve. This should expand beyond traditional wireless.

Then they should state these goals. Then they should blow past them.

That way, when they do, they will be considered a winner.

Remember, users, workers and investors need to have a plan to measure a company’s progress compared to its competitors.

If a company does not provide that pegboard, the media, investors, customers and workers will create their own. And that will be a much more difficult one to win at.

So, Dish must create their own, brand-new and different pegboard for their entry into the wireless space. Give the marketplace a clear understanding of how to judge their performance from the start.

This is critical if Dish wants to achieve success in the wireless space going forward. 

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