Dish Network chairman calls T-Mobile the “Grinch”


Recently, Dish Network held its Q1 2021 earnings call where they talked about their plans for Boost Mobile. In the call, however, Dish chairman, Charlie Ergen, couldn’t help but compare T-Mobile to the Grinch. Ergen made the comparison while talking about T-Mobile’s decision to proceed with the shut down date of its CDMA network. 

During the call, Ergen couldn’t hold his frustrations back about T-Mobile’s move. He shares that T-Mobile has “become the Grinch” and that the “Un-Carrier’s become the uncaring carrier.” When the CDMA network shut down will happen next year, it could lead millions of Boost Mobile customers to lose service. 

When Dish acquired Boost from T-Mobile, it didn’t know about T-Mobile’s plans to shut down its CDMA network in just a year. Once T-Mobile finally set the date, Dish expressed its frustrations about the short lifespan of CDMA. It recently penned a letter to the FCC where it called T-Mobile “anti-competitive. T-Mobile has responded to this letter and shared that they are also in the process of migrating T-Mobile CDMA customers, which outnumber Boost customers by a much larger scale. T-Mo also reminded Dish that they were given a 14-month notice instead of the stipulated 6-month notice. Recently though, Dish has asked the California Public Utilities Commission to reopen its merger investigation. 

In the earnings call, Ergen couldn’t help but share the metaphor, which describes T-Mobile as “heartless.” But he hopes that, just like the book, T-Mobile’s heart would grow three sizes and give back all the toys he stole from the Whos. In Ergen’s case, perhaps he is hoping T-Mobile would extend the CDMA shutdown date.


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  • squiggleslash

    I appreciate it sucks for Dish in the short term, but it’s also necessary, and they’ll be much better off in the long term. The IS-95/IS-2000 (so-called “CDMA”) mobile phone standards did little except saddle Americans with two incompatible mobile phone network families, and the IS-95/2000 standards were always the first choice of cheap low quality networks (and yes, I include Verizon – what good is a network that doesn’t drop calls if you can’t hear the person on the other end?) It’s a very good thing Qualcomm threw in the towel when it was time to make a successor to IS-2000.

    CDMA itself, both the Qualcomm version and the GSM version (UMTS/WCDMA/HSPA) turned out to be an utter disappointment compared to the more Wifi-like OFDMA used in LTE. Right now both UMTS and IS-2000 is taking up bandwidth that would be better used by LTE. Yes, it sucks to be a telco, but even Dish will be better off once they move their own network to something that uses spectrum efficiently, has low latency, and offers higher bandwidth, even if the short term pain might be annoying to them,

    • marque2

      It is also overwrought. Millions won’t have phone service? Boost isn’t that big my estimate would be 300,000 customers at max would have issues and most could be bribed with a heavily discounted phone.

      I think the problem is they don’t want to build a 4g network and 5g phones are still too expensive relative to 4g.

  • Willie D

    Point blank, if Dish had the money to buy all the spectrum they hoard and have to date never used, they shouldn’t complain when they’re forced to use it, per the purchase and merger agreements set by the FCC (past and present). My guess is that they, Disg, plan to mooch off TMo and essentially pay the $2B fee for not deploying their own network by the deadline since its cheaper to do that than it is to build a ground up network. Additionally they also plan to then make a deal with TMo to sell spectrum to TMo and lease it back for Dish customers use in lieu of building their own network further, relying in TMo.
    Now…TMo apparently isn’t having ANY of that. By keeping pressure on Dish to build out their network and not extend the deadline for it, Dish is going to find itself short of cash for said ground up build. So what’s it going to do? Sell spectrum. And to whom? TMobile. Why? Because TMo has the most compatible network with the spectrum Dish also has making it the best and most reliable roaming partner, the same way Sprint relied on Verizon to pave the path of which CDMA technology would go forward. Dish isn’t going to rely on a company that isn’t commentary to their own network so that leaves AT&T abs VZW out. So what happens, TMo buys Dish spectrum for less than its worth since Dish is desperate for cash at that point, not only to pay the $2B yearly fee to FCC for now deploying their network in time but also to pay for the network build costs themselves. So TMo wins way more spectrum and Dish loses, making them the next US Cellular, a small company in 4th place that’s too small to care about buying but just big enough to look like you’re competing with them. Dish isn’t going to want to be in that position long and will do what? Sell the network. To whom? The company that has the best commentary network for easy integration aka TMo. So basically TMo buys out Dish and gets back 100% of everything Sprint was divested of in the same way AT&T was broken up in 1984 and now is back together again.

    That’s how this is going to go down.

    • Shaun Michalak

      I think there are a few things that you are overlooking.. First would be, you talk about T-mobile buying their spectrum.. But the fact is, to get the merger to go through, they had to “sell” some of their spectrum to DISH to get the merger.. and I highly doubt that anyone would expect Dish to sell it to T-Mobile, and getting the FCC approval, especially since the FCC was the one to force T-mobile to sell it for it to go through..

      Considering that we have gone beyond CDMA, GSM, and TDMA networks, the only thing that makes AT&T and Verizon’s network incompatible is the fact that they are doing DSS, which I do not expect to be a long term thing, and T-Mobile using band 71.. Other then that, the mid bands, and the 700mhz that DISH owns, would both be compatible with either of the other 2..

      I think this is their way to put a patch on a problem to satisfy people until they can do it right, which will not be until they can get more spectrum to do it more right.. The problem is, that is not going to be for a while, considering the only real play room that they have is the new C-Band that they got.. This is where T-Mobile has the advantage.. First, they do not fully go with 4G on their band 71 installation.. The second being, if they chose, they could easily switch Sprints band 25 over to 5G of they wanted, along with the them already having the better band 41 that they are using for 5G.

      AT&T and Verizon both cut themselves off by ignoring the band 71 auctions, and not getting and keeping any of it. Still, Dish is in a predicament.. They want to go full 5G, which is best considering their resources.. But to do so, they need phones, which they have not yet acquired to get to their customers.. The chip shortage is also hurting them from even trying to get any for a while, due to backorders.. No one has yet to fully get 5G up and working, due to chip limitations, such as VoNR, SA, and CA support, which will be needed for a true 5G network.. As what was already proven with the Apple phones, you can see the software and compatibility problems with 5G on the phones, and them getting them to work right. and with Dish not having any other backup for problems that may occur, this means their network has to be working 100% perfectly when they put it up..

  • MisterListerSir


    T-Mobile is screwing us! They gave us more time! They’re doing in the same amount of time they gave us! somebody call the Wahmbulance!

    Too rich. The guy is so tone deaf.

  • Jason Caprio

    Anybody that is going to lose service because of a CDMA shutdown, probably has a 10 year old flip phone. Time to upgrade!

  • marty leopard

    I love that no one mentions Ergen saying “we don’t need Tmos network” during FCC anti trust trial

  • MissedCall

    Dish has been amassing spectrum for years and done zero with it. How is that T-Mobile’s problem?

  • kev2684

    there has been ZERO movements about Dish trying to build out their own network from all the spectrum they hold for years. They get what they deserve.

    • Shaun Michalak

      In the past, I would agree.. But as of right now, even if they wanted to put one up, they just do not have it to where it needs to be to be able to put one up.. With their limited resources, they can not do a lot of splitting of spectrum to put up both, 4 and 5G.. To put up a fully working 5G network, they need both, equipment and people with phones that support both, CA, and VoNR, which is sadly missing from all networks right now. and they need phones that can support it, which is sadly missing from the current x55 chip.. So right now, in the end, the only thing they can do is work at getting it fixed, worked up, so that they can get that kind of network up.. Do the paper pushing type of work, like making agreements for tower installations and rentals of space, etc..

      I honestly do not expect to see any real progress on an actual network going up, until at least the 4th quarter of this year, at the soonest.. and that is being optimistic.. but expecting more along the lines of next year before you will see the first tower going up, and online.. and that is if all goes well..