Dish puts its under-used tech force to work with new smart phone repair business

Faced with a product portfolio that is rapidly becoming virtualized and in no need of CPE or service calls, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) has apparently found something for its underused installation force to do.

The satellite operator announced the launch of Smart Phone Repair by Dish, a new nationwide service that's available to Dish customers and non-customers alike.

For $35, a Dish tech will make a repair visit, with actual work running from $40 to $190. Initially, the company is only servicing iPhones — models 5, 5c, 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus. The company said it will support other smart phone models in the coming months.

The price point isn't necessarily cheap — it will cost $185 to fix a broken screen on a 6 Plus, for example. 

Dish said it lost 23,000 customers in the first quarter, attrition that analysts say is being made appear much better than it is by the addition of Sling TV customers.

MoffettNathanson speculates that the operator actually lost around 158,000 customers to its core satellite TV service from Jan. 1 to March 31, but gained around 131,000 subscribers for its IP-based Sling TV platform.

What that means is that a lot more of Dish's sign-ups these days come from customers opting for the virtualized Sling TV service that requires no installation. 

"Dish is uniquely positioned with the technical know-how and ability to respond to a customer's needs in every state across the country," said John Swieringa, Dish's executive VP of operations.

For more:
- read this Dish release

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Dish loses 23K pay-TV subs in Q1, still not breaking out Sling TV numbers
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