It’s a huge thing for UTOPIA to score a major national provider like DISH Network.
First, let’s consider that DISH already has a lot of customers in UTOPIA areas. They could immediately start marketing both data and voice service to those subscribers. Given that they can cross-subsidize using revenues from other markets, using the MStar tactic of aggressive marketing would be sustainable. They also have installation and customer service staff in place to handle that influx.
That cross-subsidy can also help them pick up new customers on a triple-play package. One of the main barriers to signing up new customers has been the acquisition cost. DISH could potentially opt to subsidize or entirely eat the install cost as a way of speeding up deployment, something they have the cash to do. They can also double up their marketing to hit up potential new customers while marketing to existing ones.
This may also prompt other operators to take a closer look at UTOPIA as a means of delivering services. While UTOPIA has had no problems picking up a plethora of commercial operators, the residential options have remained somewhat limited. The addition of a large national provider will no doubt attract attention from other providers, especially as the network expands and creates a greater opportunity to grab new customers. It was rumored that Cox Communications, the largest privately-held cable company in the country, was interested in joining UTOPIA if they thought they could get at least 50,000 new customers out of it. (FWIW, Cox operates in Las Vegas where UTOPIA’s fiber backbone terminates.) Such additions would make take rates in excess of 50% not just feasible, but assumed.
In all, I think this deal has major implications for changing the competitive landscape. I’m looking forward to seeing what DISH will do.