Dish warns of price increase for most packages

A Dish Network satellite dish.
A Dish Network satellite dish. (Photo by Cody Logan via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

Dish Network says it will raise subscription fees across most of the programming packages offered on its flagship satellite service next month.

In a statement sent to customers this week, Dish said the price hikes were the result of increased programming costs associated with carrying popular television networks.

Dish did not say which channels or programmers were to blame for the price hikes, but affirmed that some subscribers “may have observed some channel interruptions because of this.” Earlier in the month, Dish pulled ESPN, the Disney Channel, FX, Freeform and other channels owned by the Walt Disney Company after accusing it of demanding an increase in carriage fees.

“The fastest growing cost we and all other TV providers have is driven by the cost we pay the programmers,” a Dish spokesperson said on Monday. “We will continue to work hard for fair deals with these programmers to keep channel costs and the price you pay as low as possible.”

Starting November 17, Dish says it will roll out price increases across most of its packages, with the majority of tiers getting $5 more expensive.

The new prices for Dish’s satellite packages are:

  • Welcome Pack: $50 a month (previously $48)
  • Smart Pack: $56 a month (previously $51)
  • Flex Pack: $57 a month (previously $53)
  • Dish America: $73 a month (previously $68)
  • America’s Top 120: $88 a month (previously $83)
  • America’s Top 120 Plus: $93 a month (previously $88)
  • America’s Top 200: $103 a month (previously $98)
  • America’s Top 250: $113 a month (previously $108)
  • DishLatino Básico: $57 a month (previously $52)
  • DishLatino Clásico: $60 a month (previously $55)
  • DishLatino Plus: $67 a month (previously $62)
  • DishLatino Dos: $86 a month (previously $81)
  • DishLatino Max: $98 a month (previously $93)

Dish says customers who are locked into a price guarantee will not see increases until their guarantee lapses (for most customers, the guarantee lasts two years from the start of their service). The price hikes also do not include a separate $12 fee that Dish charges for local channels in many of its tiers of service.

Additionally, Dish says it is raising the price of its box return fee from $15 to $20 per instance. The fee is charged when a customer cancels their service or has it disconnected due to non-payment; Dish says the fee is intended to supplement the costs of shipping and packaging associated with the return of their set-top box equipment.

As of Monday, Dish has not announced whether price increases will also be coming to its streaming service, Sling TV, even though customers of that service were also impacted by the carriage dispute with Disney.

Sling TV offers two base packages of service — a Sling Orange tier with Disney Channel, ESPN and some local ABC stations, and a Sling Blue package with FX, FXX and other channels Disney acquired several years ago — for $35 a month. It remains unclear if the agreement reached earlier this month between Dish and Disney allows Sling to continue offering these two base packages over the long term, or if Dish will have to increase its price beyond $35 a month in order to offset higher fees charged by Disney for carrying the channels.