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DISH Wireless Could Reach More Rural Markets With Deal Like AT&T’s

A sign depicting rural Internet.
The United States is the fourth largest country by land size in the world. From sea to shining sea there is a lot of ground to cover, not to mention the states of Hawaii and Alaska who are a considerable distance from the Lower 48. DISH Wireless is tasked with reaching 20% of Americans by June 2022 and upping this percentage to 70% by June 2023. For a wireless provider that is new to the industry, this is no easy task. However, DISH Wireless is ready.

Recently, DISH Wireless and AT&T signed a 10-year agreement to keep DISH’s MVNOs connected throughout the U.S., but the ramifications of that deal could be far more reaching than the surface may seem. Even with no infrastructure, there are still considerable advantages and tower deals to be had in urban markets. DISH Wireless is launching in Las Vegas in Q4 of 2021 with Orlando, Washington D.C., and many other cities nationwide expected to follow. But the innovative wireless provider has long set its sights on rural markets. Similarly creating deals with other companies as it has with AT&T might provide quicker avenues for coverage by using the opportunity to reach underserved markets.

“Now AT&T, as much as geographies as they cover, which is a lot, they still don’t cover…there are still rural carriers, including UScellular, that cover areas that AT&T does not or T-Mobile does not,” said Charlie Ergen, the Co-Founder and Chairman of DISH Network.

While the agreement with AT&T itself won’t help DISH Wireless in terms of its government obligations nor does it solve everything involving T-Mobile’s impending CDMA network shut down, it will help the company’s buildout. “One of the things that’s very important in this relationship is the quality of the AT&T network as it relates to supporting our customers, and particularly our DISH customers. It allows us to go beyond our existing footprint that we serve with Boost today,” said DISH Network’s Chief Commercial Officer, Stephen Bye. He would also note that many of DISH Network’s customers were in rural markets.

While speaking during DISH Network’s Q2 earnings call, Bye mentioned that DISH had already spoken to several regional and rural operators about agreements. According to Bye, discussions are underway. Parties are focusing on how such partnerships can create a win-win situation for those involved.

5G continues to open the doors to new possibilities thanks to the three main benefits the technology is bringing us:

– More data capacity
– Faster speeds
– Lower latency

These three features of 5G are leading the advancements we see in extended reality (XR), automation, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), and more. Connectivity is still limited in many markets throughout the United States as providing reliable, high-speed Internet is expensive. Urban markets continue to dominate deployments and upgrades, but through 5G fixed wireless access (FWA), things can change.

DISH Wireless has been committed to creating 5G solutions through fixed wireless from the beginning. Using a technique known as network slicing, DISH Wireless can create end-to-end private networks. These networks are customized to fit the needs of a subscriber. The slices work away from the main flow of traffic. The result is a more secure, faster network connection built for your specific needs. It can also evolve as your needs change. Network slicing will help businesses and homes that need a better Internet option, a custom network solution, or both.

Partnering with AT&T is more than just coverage, it is a long-term endeavor that will help create synergies for the companies. For example, both AT&T and DISH Wireless possess identical amounts of the 700 MHz spectrum. Scaling them could cut costs for both parties and create advantages through collaboration. In terms of the deal with AT&T, there are also plenty of other possibilities outside of wireless. Both provide television services and the magnitude of this deal is even rekindling rumors of a potential merger between DirecTV, which is now its own entity, and DISH Network.

Who and how DISH Wireless collaborates moving forward remains to be seen. DISH Wireless is now in 36 markets throughout 4 different regions in the United States. Partnering with regional wireless providers profitably can lead to a stronger network and lower costs. States such as Alaska rely on regional wireless providers more than bigger names in many cases. 5G is here and DISH Wireless is coming. Executing its rural ambitions will rely on the same principles DISH Wireless is using for its 5G buildout elsewhere in many cases: collaboration capable of providing quicker solutions that cut costs but not quality.

Source: Fierce Wireless

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