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Dish Network Dishes a Solid Quarter. Will It Last?

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Satellite broadcast network provider Dish Network (DISH)  broadcast third-quarter adjusted earnings that beat analysts' forecasts on Thursday, though it gave a bit of a fuzzy picture on how it plans to continue to attract subscribers and compete as the fourth U.S. wireless cable network.

The Englewood, Colo.-based company posted net earnings for the third quarter of $353 million, or 66 cents a share, vs. $432 million, or 82 cents a share, a year ago. That handily beat FactSet analyst estimates of 60 cents a share. 

Revenue for the quarter, however, came in at $3.17 billion, just shy of the $3.2 billion expected by analysts polled by FactSet. As well, subscriber growth, particularly on the pay-TV side, was somewhat stagnant from the previous quarter, with 12.18 million total pay-TV subscribers, including 9.49 million DISH TV subscribers and 2.69 million Sling TV subscribers.

Net pay-TV subscribers increased by approximately 148,000 subscribers in the third quarter.

The big question mark for Dish: how will it fare with the T-Mobile-Sprint merger now cleared, and its newly minted position of fourth major U.S. wireless-communications carrier.

The Federal Communications Commission in September formally approved the $26.5 billion hook-up between T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) , though some states, including New York, have opposed the deal, saying it will prompt higher prices for consumers - even as the Justice Department has pushed to let the deal go through.

A multistate lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial next month.

Shares of Dish were up nearly 7% at $35.80 in morning  trading on Thursday. They ended the trading day Wednesday down 3.23%, or $1.12 a share, at $33.52. 

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