EchoStar ( DISH) has drawn up a battle plan vowing to freeze some prices for a year and to add 24 more high-definition channels. The Dish Network satellite TV provider says it will stick with its $40 a month charge for its most popular programming package until February 2009. The Englewood, Colo., broadcaster also says it will boost its HD video offering to a total of 100 channels during the year. The move comes as rival DirecTV ( DTV), as well as phone giant Verizon ( VZ), have taken TV customers away from cable companies like Comcast ( CMCSA), Time Warner Cable ( TWC) and Cablevision ( CVC). The eroding cable customer base has alarmed investors as they watch subscribers flee to other shops with higher-quality video to get the full bang out of their new flat-panel TVs. Verizon got on the
HD bandwagon in November after reporting sluggish video subscriber growth. The New York telco said it plans to double the number of HD channels to 60 with the goal of having more than 150 HD channels available by the end of 2008. Investors, however, aren't exactly pleased with the prospect of a video price war. EchoStar shares fell $1.25 to $32.23 Monday.