(Reuters) - Dish Network Corp (DISH.O) reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue on Friday, as the company lost fewer satellite TV subscribers than expected and said it was on track to build the first phase of its wireless network.
The U.S. satellite TV provider has struggled to stop losses from cord-cutting as viewers move to cheaper online streaming services, and is working to diversify its business by eventually launching a 5G wireless network.
Shares rose 12.8 percent to $33.67 in afternoon trading.
Dish shed a net 192,000 satellite customers during the second quarter, below analyst expectations for losses of 235,000 customers, according to research firm FactSet.
Dish’s pay-TV business is showing signs of stabilization, “and this should give investors comfort that the runway on this business is perhaps a bit longer than expected,” Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with New Street Research, said in a note.
Dish has been under pressure to build the first phase of its wireless network - a narrowband Internet of Things network - and use its stockpile of spectrum before the licenses expire in 2020.
Dish Chief Executive W. Erik Carlson said during the conference call with analysts that Dish was on track to launch the IoT network by March 2020.
However, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said during the call the company would not be able to begin building its larger goal of a 5G network until 2020, because it still needs certain spectrum that must be cleared by the Federal Communications Commission.
“There isn’t an industry in the next decade that doesn’t need what we’re going to build,” Ergen said.
Dish’s streaming service Sling TV added 41,000 subscribers during the quarter, missing analyst estimates of 68,000.
Dish said it may lose more pay-TV subscribers because of a blackout of Spanish-language TV network Univision, due to a dispute over fees.
Dish’s churn rate, or the percentage of subscribers who cancel a service, fell to 1.46 percent from 1.83 percent last year.
Revenue fell 5 percent to $3.46 billion.
Net income attributable to the company rose to $439 million, or 83 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30 from $40 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 71 cents per share and revenue of $3.44 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski