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DISH Q1 Subs Up 38%

5/10/2007 01:47:00 PM Eastern

Englewood, Colo. — EchoStar’s total revenue for first quarter of 2007 rose 15 percent year-to-year, to $2.64 billion. Net income rose 6.8 percent from a year ago, to $157 million.

In the period, EchoStar’s DISH Network added about 310,000 net new subscribers, up 37.7 percent over the year ago period, ending the quarter with approximately 13.415 million total subscribers.

The company said it was able to reduce subscriber churn in the period to 1.46 percent, from 1.57 percent last year.

Monthly average revenue per subscriber rose 6.5 percent to $64.17 during the three months, ended March 31, compared with $60.26 a year ago. This was due largely to programming price increases in February, increased HD and DVR programming fees and higher equipment rental fees.

In a conference call, EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen said the about 12 percent rise in gross customer additions in the period could be attributed in part to seasonally strong HDTV additions, and the fact that “we have one of the more consumer-friendly DVRs and HD DVRs.”

“We have strong distribution base of satellite professionals, and we have phone company support, too,” Ergen said.

He said the continued rise of multichannel TV subscribers across the country was due to a “combination of factors” including the continuation satellite TV getting a high percentage of new housing starts.

In its filing, the company warned that competition is intensifying from Internet-delivered video services and it may not be able to continue generating the same high level of subscriber additions, particularly if it is unable to control subscriber churn.