The cord-cutting woes continued for Dish Network in the first quarter of the year, according to the satellite and live-streaming company’s latest financial report Friday.

Dish Network showed a loss of 462,000 pay-TV accounts in the first quarter of the year, compared to a loss of 273,000 pay-TV customers in the previous quarter and 230,000 losses from the same period a year ago.

In total, Dish now has 10.24 million pay-TV subscribers, down from 10.71 million in the previous quarter and 11.06 million in Q1-2021.

In Q1-2022, the Dish direct-to-home satellite TV service stood at 7.99 million subscribers down from 8.68 million year-over-year, a decline of about 693,000 accounts.

At the same time, the company’s Sling TV live OTT streaming alternative offering totaled 2.25 million down by 234,000 from the previous quarter and 122,000 from the same period a year ago. Some of the Sling TV decline could be attributed to a $5 per month price increase in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said in an earnings call he continues to believe a merger between Dish and DirecTV is “inevitable,” and would pass regulatory approvals as both DTH businesses continue to lose subscribers.

Meanwhile, after many delays, Dish Wireless began to roll out the nation’s first cloud-based 5G wireless service, as an initial step in a long-range plan to change the one-time satellite pay-TV-focused service and equipment provider into a mobile broadband company.

Dish Wireless has a June 14th deadline from the U.S. government to cover 20% of the country’s population with 5G.

Earlier this week, Samsung’s networks business announced a $1 billion multi-year deal with Dish Wireless through which Samsung will supply Dish Wireless with its 5G and Radio Access Network (RAN) products and software.

A RAN is the part of a mobile network that connects end-user devices, like smartphones, to the cloud. RANs are critical connection points that perform complex processing. They have been seeing rapidly increasing demand with the escalation of edge and 5G networks.

In addition, Dish Network’s mobile 5G services business launched a beta test in Q1-2022 of its Project Genesis retail initiative that is offering customers in Las Vegas the ability to sign on for an unlimited data, text and calling plan for $30 a month. The company is also offering a $900 Motorola Edge+ phone to use on the new network. Dish plans to have the service in 120 cities in June.

In the call, the company said initial feedback from its engagement app used to monitor the project has been good.

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By Greg Tarr

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