DISH TV in the United States lost more satellite television subscribers but regained Sling TV customers in the third quarter of 2022, giving it a total of 10.02 million television subscribers, down from 10.71 at the beginning of the year. The chairman of Dish Network still suggests that a merger with DIRECTV seems inevitable, providing it is acceptable to regulators.

Dish Network lost 184,000 DISH TV satellite television subscribers in the third quarter, taking its total to 7.61 million, down from 8.42 million a year before. It gained 214,000 Sling TV subscribers, for a total of 2.41 million, following a loss of 359,000 over the previous three quarters.

Average revenue per subscriber across its pay-television base rose to $102 a month, up from $96 a month a year before. Quarterly revenue of $4.10 billion produced net income of $412 million, compared to $557 million for the comparable quarter the previous year.

Charlie Ergen, the chairman of Dish Network, has long said that a merger with DIRECTV is inevitable. “I haven’t changed my opinion on that,” he told analysts. He suggested there was a window for merger and acquisitions following the mid-term elections.

He said there were still significant synergies across the two businesses. “They’re not what they were five years ago or two years ago, but they’re still material,” he said. “In a declining industry, taking advantage of synergies is a rational strategy.”

He suggested that legal objection to a merger was likely to be diminished by the degradation of the linear television business, competition from online video and the proliferation of broadband.

DIRECTV was acquired by AT&T for $48.5 billion in 2015 but it spun it off in a deal that closed in August 2021 with private equity fund TPG Capital, which acquired a 30% stake for $1.8 billion while AT&T received $7.1 billion. At the time, the DIRECTV and U-verse services previously owned and operated by AT&T had around 15.4 million video subscribers between them.