It’s been an exciting year for DISH Wireless as the company pushes itself farther and farther along to build out the nation’s first cloud-native 5G network. Dave Mayo, DISH Network’s EVP of network development, recently discussed the company’s 2021 buildout goals at Connect (X), the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s annual event.
Number one on Mayo’s list was maintaining its close partnership with open radio access network (open RAN) vendor Mavenir Systems and Altiostar to ensure that their open RAN solutions integrate well with Nokia’s virtualized core network. This is essential for DISH Wireless to use open RAN because by disaggregating the software that controls the radios from the physical radio itself, DISH Wireless gets more control over the features and network functionality. “This is a great opportunity to do something very different from the other guys,” Mayo said.
Another big priority on DISH’s list in 2021 is to work through its integration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) because the company plans on using Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) to host its RAN and mobile core for both private and public 5G networks. Mayo said that DISH is working closely with AWS on its integration and will use Spirent Communications for the autonomous testing and validation of DISH’s 5G core network.
DISH also wants to build a backlog of permits to continuously build its network without having to deal with delays due to permitting issues. In addition to getting ahead of permits, Mayo also said that collocation applications were a top priority for markets with high collocation rates, allowing DISH to focus on building a complete market. In the past, building service in a market would take a long time because of tower building, but that’s no longer an issue because most towers have been constructed to handle today’s capacity. Because of this, Mayo noted that one advantage DISH Wireless has is that there are many towers ready for collocation.
Mayo added that they hadn’t experienced many issues on its supply chain thus far, and the company is focused on streamlining everything they will need for the company to build its network, most specifically transport. Mayo did seem optimistic, though, that there wouldn’t be any significant problems. And because DISH is also a satellite TV business, the company has been able to retrofit some of its warehouses to build cabinets for its wireless gear.
Lastly, Mayo said that the company is heavily focused on its Las Vegas launch, where DISH will be releasing its beta 5G network in Q4. The market known as the “Las Vegas Lab,” as Mayo calls it, will hopefully get service started in the next few weeks.
Mayo had high praise for NexSys-One, the vendor that DISH is using to help manage its network deployment, and that its cloud-based platform “project management tool” is “unlike anything I’ve seen.”