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Hurricane Maria Swamps Dish in Q3

The devastation in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean wrought by Hurricane Maria drove heavy subscriber losses at Dish Network in the third quarter, as the company suspended service for all its customers in that territory and the U.S. Virgin Islands affected by the storm.

Related: Pai Says More USF Money Needed to Help Puerto Rican Communications

Hurricane Maria swept through the Caribbean in September, causing extraordinary damage throughout the region. In Puerto Rico, 51 people were killed as a result of the storm and to date thousands are still without power and clean water.

In order to ensure its customers were not charged for service they couldn't receive, Dish said it paused the accounts of all 145,000 customers in the region in September. Coupled with a gain of 16,000 subscribers in the 50 states, Dish said it lost about 129,000 customers in the period.

Related: Dish 'Pauses' Service to Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

"In light of the situation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dish expects to incur certain expenses in connection with the re-activation of returning customers in these areas," the company said in a statement. "Accordingly, any returning customers will be recorded as gross new pay TV subscriber activations for the period in which they return."

Revenue at the satellite TV service provider dipped to $3.6 billion in the period, from $3.8 billion in the prior year. Net income declined to $297 million (57 cents per share) from $318 million (67 cents per share) in the prior year.