Dish expands 5G before FCC deadline: Here’s what you need to know

What is happening

Dish, the fourth-largest US carrier, claims to have rolled out 5G to 120 cities.

why is it important

Dish took on its fourth carrier role when Sprint and T-Mobile merged, and came under fire from the FCC for rolling out the service. It is supposed to be a viable competitor to its biggest rivals.

And after

Dish will still need to provide more clarity on the service, which is only invited for the time being.

Dish Network updated its Project Genesis site on Tuesday to say 5G service is live in more than 120 cities, marking a nationwide coverage claim as part of a Federal Communications Commission deadline to roll out the service. at least one-fifth of the country’s population.

The announcement, a surprise change from earlier this morning when Las Vegas was the only live city, could signal that the company, widely known for its satellite television service, is finally taking the wireless business seriously. thread. Dish has acquired wireless spectrum for years, but very little of a wireless network has materialized. Then in 2020, Dish entered the mobile market by acquiring some of Sprint’s mobile licenses, which Sprint was getting rid of as part of its merger with T-Mobile. The complex transaction suddenly made Dish the fourth largest carrier in the country and led to the creation of the Dish Wireless service.

But the FCC had a stipulation. To ensure competition, the regulatory agency asked Dish to ensure that 20% of Americans would be covered by its 5G network by June 14. It’s unclear whether the 120 cities enabled by Dish meet that threshold, and how many people the service covers. The service’s “beta list” is available by invitation only.

Dish and the FCC were unavailable for comment.

A host of problems conspired to trip up Dish. The company admitted in an earnings call earlier this year that it had underestimated the amount of work needed to set up its own 5G network. Supply chain issues have only made the situation worse.

It’s unclear if Dish will face any consequences if he ends up missing the deadline. Neither Dish nor the FCC responded to a request for comment.

Here’s what you need to know about Dish’s 5G plans:

Why did the FCC impose this requirement on Dish?

Deadline is the result of a huge shift in the US mobile industry two years ago, when T-Mobile and Sprint combined in a $26.5 billion deal. The FCC nearly canceled the deal, fearing it would lead to market concentration by pulling one carrier out of the market. Only AT&T, Verizon and the new T-Mobile would remain.

But Dish, which tried to add mobile service to its satellite TV offerings a decade ago, saw operator consolidation as an opportunity to become a mobile player. The company paid $5 billion for Boost Mobile, Sprint’s prepaid mobile brand, as well as Sprint’s 800 MHz wireless spectrum specifically for 5G. Dish has also obtained the rights to use part of T-Mobile’s 5G network.

Dish still had to build its own 5G network, a task it started mostly from scratch. To ensure that Dish’s mobile customers would receive solid service, the FCC originally set March 7, 2020 as the deadline for the company to roll out its 5G network. The FCC has also stipulated that coverage should reach 20% of the US population.

The deadline, however, has been pushed back several times at Dish’s request. The final deadline was set for June 14, 2022. Dish chairman and co-founder Charlie Ergen decided not to seek another extension and expected the carrier to meet the FCC deadline, reported. the Fierce Wireless news site in May.

Did Dish meet the deadline?

Dish updated its Project Genesis website on deadline day to say its 5G network has reached more than 120 cities. But we don’t know how many people in those cities have network coverage, and therefore whether Dish has reached its goal of covering 20% ​​of the US population by June 14. Under FCC terms, failure to meet the deadline could result in the revocation of Dish’s wireless spectrum license and payment of fines of up to $2.2 billion, the Light news site reported. Reading earlier this year.

How far does Dish’s 5G network travel?

In early May, Dish made its 5G service available to the public in Las Vegas. Customers sign up for the service through “Project Genesis,” an early access program that costs $30 a month and is currently only available on Motorola Edge Plus handsets. (Service plans will adapt to other phones in the future.)

In February, Dish announced that its 5G service would be operational in more than two dozen cities by the June deadline. And after the Las Vegas service launched publicly, the carrier released a list of 113 cities it planned to include in Project Genesis. As recently as its first-quarter earnings call in May, Dish said it remained confident it would activate 5G service in enough cities to reach 20% of the US population by the deadline. June.

The carrier did not go public with where 5G service was live beyond its first city until today, when it suddenly listed over 120 additional cities that now have active service on the site. Project Genesis. The service remains by invitation only and we do not know what area is covered in each city.

In addition to securing Sprint’s 800 MHz range, Dish has also bid in several separate auctions for 5G spectrum licenses. These include spending $7.3 billion in January on midband 5G in the 3.45 GHz spectrum and $913 million on so-called C-band 5G in 2020. Combined, the chunks of connected 5G spectrum will serve as the backbone of its service.

While Dish can use some of T-Mobile’s 5G spectrum for years under carrier deals, Dish also paid AT&T at least $5 billion in July 2021 for a 10-year contract to s lean on the latter’s 5G network while it builds its own infrastructure.

What took Dish so long?

Unlike other carriers, who have built their 5G networks on top of existing 4G LTE, Dish has more or less built its network from scratch. It also builds the service on OpenRAN, a type of flexible cellular network that uses infrastructure from multiple vendors.

Dish executives acknowledged that they underestimated the work it would take to build their network and failed to anticipate supply chain issues.

Update, 1pm PT and 3:345pm PT: To include more details on the Genesis Project site and the 120 new cities.

About Ferdinand Caldwell

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