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Guest Message by DevFuse

Ergen Leads Day of DISH Shareholder Reckoning

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Posted 08 March 2002 - 04:19 AM

A bright, shining morning in Denver, Colo., helped Charlie Ergen and his EchoStar through investor and shareholder presentations that highlighted the company’s 2001 accomplishments and 2002 guidance that seemed "oh so sweet."

Throughout Ergen’s presentation to shareholders and Wall Street analysts, some of the highlighted positive points for the year ahead included a possible 8 million total subscriber count by year’s end, a PanAmSat takeover, positive earnings per share (EPS) and a 20 percent to 25 percent revenue increase. Some of EchoStar’s 2002 negative points mirrored 2001’s problems: Piracy, interactive TV and broadband.

But, broadband seemed to be more than just a lofty goal for EchoStar. Of course, the company dropped its WildBlue investment to zero (0) and its StarBand investment from $100 million to $36 million, but there was definitely a glimmer on the horizon. "For satellite broadband, it’s a matter of building satellites that can hold broadband capacity. We think it’s feasible," the CEO said. Ergen noted a possible DSL company partner to further EchoStar’s broadband hopes not only in the sky but on the ground as well.

"We’re not going to do (satellite) broadband in a non-economical way," said Ergen. "So, we’re going to take what we’ve learned and apply it to make (satellite broadband) economical for consumers and competitive to other markets. Satellite broadband needs to be evolutionary not revolutionary."

Ergen also bolstered support for Hughes’ Spaceway business. The Spaceway model of supplying satellite broadband to enterprise customers plus a separate consumer model, which has proved not to be "economical" on its own, could certainly prove to be a high revenue generating option for EchoStar, should everything go as planned. "Clearly, if there’s an evolutionary path for satellite broadband, we will take that path," Ergen said.

Adding to the morning’s enlightenment, Ergen expressed his excitement for the possible acquisition of PanAmSat. Some of the benefits to EchoStar, should PanAmSat become part of the DBS company, include: Prime orbital slots, robust cash flow, margin upside, bundling synergies, key customer relationship and strategic positioning. And, PanAmSat could be EchoStar’s answer to a better interactive model as well, according to Ergen. "PanAmSat is an easier business to operate, as opposed to what we’re doing currently," Ergen said

From <a href="http://www.skyreport.com" target=none>SkyReport</A> (Used with permission)

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