DISH Network lost 40,000 television subscribers in the second quarter of 2020. After an apparent loss of 382,000 the previous quarter, with around 250,000 commercial DISH TV accounts suspended, some 45,000 restored service in the second quarter. That produced an overall increase in subscriber numbers of 5,000. Meanwhile, Sling TV subscribers fell by 56,000. The company ended the first half of 2020 with 9.02 million DISH TV subscribers and 2.25 million Sling TV subscribers.

In the first quarter of 2020, some 250,000 commercial DISH TV accounts were suspended and removed from the subscriber count. 45,000 of these restored service in the second quarter. The company expects the “vast majority” of the rest to restore their service in the future, although 17,000 disconnected.

Erik Carlson, the chief executive of DISH Network, said the DISH TV strategy has been based on acquiring and retaining long-term profitable customers, focusing on a more rural customer base.

He described the loss of 56,000 Sling TV online subscribers as “disappointing” and attributed this to increased competition that “flooded the space with introductory offers and promotions”, plus delays and cancellations in sporting events due to coronavirus restrictions.

Charlie Ergan, the chairman and co-founder, repeated his view that a merger of DISH and DIRECTV “will be inevitable” although he did not know whether that could be in a month or ten years.

DISH Network reported second quarter revenues of $3.19 billion, compared to $3.21 billion for the same period the previous year. Net income of $452 million was up by $135 million year on year.