Insider Lite March 24: Dish 5G

by Dave Michels

I’ve been a fan of Dish for a long time. I was one of their earliest television subscribers back in Gore’s 90s when DISH briefly stood for the Digital Information Super Highway. I was particularly impressed with CEO/Founder Charlie Ergen, who took on cable and mostly won. Of course, having a superior product helped. Dish had better picture quality than cable and a smaller antenna than DirectTV. 

I was intrigued when the Trump FCC and Charlie agreed to make Dish the nation’s fourth 5G provider. The FCC wanted to approve the Sprint/T-Mobile merger but needed a patsy. There was a lot of pushback that that the US should have at least four wireless providers. Dish needed to pivot as satellite and TV subscriptions were/are waning in popularity. Ergen was probably capable of taking on the wireless establishment, so why not?

But it’s not looking good for Dish. The provider is now facing at best a major regroup on its “moving forward” strategy or a potential bankruptcy. Surprise: the US will likely have three wireless carriers. The T-Mobile/Sprint merger was approved with purposeful ignorance.

The FCC forced Sprint to sell Dish its prepaid Boost Mobile service as a headstart, but that relied on the Sprint network, which the newly combined company promptly shut down. All the fears about approving the merger have largely come true, including layoffs and price hikes. Dish 5G does not have the money to develop into a major player. 

Despite my optimism, it never seemed likely Dish, a company with no wireless experience, could develop a viable cellular network. It didn’t have a superior product or any advantage whatsoever. For reasons I never understood, consumers are surprisingly loyal to their wireless providers despite continuous relationship abuses. Cash-strapped Dish had to pass on plans to buy spectrum from T-Mobile recently. Now, several analysts are predicting Dish’s bankruptcy.  

Don’t cry for the providers. Certainly, the remaining three won’t miss Dish, but even Dish will do fine. They will face a token FCC fine for missing its build commitments, but Dish is sitting on a bounty of spectrum soon that’s soon to be harvested. 

The providers win and the FCC got what they wanted. The American public is once again screwed. US consumers were already paying among the highest rates in the world for cellular services, and that’s not likely to improve with less carriers. We are also one of the only places that tolerate locked phones.  

Real-Time, Recorded

Dave and Zeus discuss recent events.   (MWC, RingCentral, 8×8, HP Amplify, Five9, EC24, Nvidia)

From the Recent (Paid) Insider Report

The February report, being pre-EC, was a pretty quiet month. However, lots still happened, and Laurent Philonenko was a guest contributor. Here are a few excerpts. You can subscribe to the Insider Report here.

Apple Message Encryption: While the enterprise will be running from E2EE (to accommodate AI), consumer apps will likely run toward E2EE (partly to get away from AI). Apple announced a new encryption model for iMessage that is secure against quantum computing.

Workvivo Retention Insights: Zoom’s Workvivo joined forces with Adoreboard for improved insights into employee emotional health. The Workvivo Boost Program analyzes the emotional intensity in employee interactions within Workvivo. The goal is to help employers tap into nuances of employee sentiment, enabling proactive measures to rebuild trust and foster a more cohesive and supportive workplace culture.

This is an interesting twist. There’s so much focus now on using AI to improve CX and CSAT, but the tools can also be used internally.

8×8 Engage: This is a new productized offering of the informal contact center, or CC for nonagents. 8×8 has been talking about this for a while under the XCaaS banner. XCaaS acknowledged that meaningful customer interactions happen outside the contact center, and Engage fills those gaps. It gives nonagents more CX tools, such as recording and logging. CX is often incorrectly used interchangeably with CCaaS. More commonly, it refers to an expansion of contact center services. 8×8 improves CX by expanding UCaaS.

Vonage and AWS: Vonage and AWS announced a vague API partnership and said AWS will offer Vonage’s Fraud Protection Suite. It also appears that Vonage will be hosting parts of its CPaaS business on AWS. Coopetition? These providers are competitors (AWS has a private 5G service and the Chime SDK CPaaS).

The emerging role of the hypervisors appears to include announcements of implied partnerships in exchange for IaaS commitments.

Earnings: NICE is doing well, and Barak Eilam is not shy about it. ICYMI, his recent LinkedIn post about sales compensation at NICE is an in-your-face way of signaling success and destabilizing the good salespeople of his competitors. It is also a great tribute from Barak to his sales team, which is refreshing. NICE’s executives recurringly talk about its strong balance sheet, and they are right; it matters, now and in the long term. Expect them to continue to fund above-average growth.

How Genesys is really doing is a question mark, given its private nature and the heavy financial engineering that is ongoing. We do know that the ARR of Genesys Cloud is growing fast and that legacy products still account for about 60% of revenue, per the last published numbers. It’s difficult to force a base to migrate, especially when customers have spent so much effort on customization over the years and somehow expect Genesys Cloud to be a like-for-like migration. For the nostalgic reader, we must admit that the T-Server, which was the brilliant foundation of Genesys, has run its course, and it’s now time to embrace cloud and AI, not CTI protocol conversions

Steve McGovern is no longer the Managing Director of Dubber. The conversational recording company is trying to find $26.6M discovered to be missing during its audit and suspended McGovern during the investigation. Executive Director Peter Pawlowitsch has been named Acting CEO. The company does not believe these developments will affect its previously reported top-line revenue or operations.

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