Charlie Ergen, the billionaire who runs Dish Network, has stepped down as CEO to focus on untapping billions of dollars of the company's unused wireless spectrum.
Investors are pressuring Ergen for a big-ticket deal to capitalize on the spectrum, which is ideal for streaming movies as well as maintaining a cellular signal over long distances. He spoke last month of new opportunities for wireless partnerships in the wake of the collapse of merger talks between Sprint and T-Mobile.
The company's future could ride on the spectrum as subscribers of Dish's satellite TV service flee for cheaper online services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. The timing of the change comes at what might be a pivotal moment for Dish as Ergen seeks a commercial application for the idle trove of airwave licenses.