On DISH Network’s Q3 earnings call on November 4, DISH discussed several other headline-worthy announcements. Still, the one we’re most excited about is that DISH Wireless’ 5G network is officially in beta-testing in Las Vegas. The news is a long-anticipated one as the satellite TV provider turned wireless operator has worked tirelessly over the past year to build out the nation’s first cloud-native 5G network, with plans to launch in Q1 of 2022 officially.
DISH Wireless said that the company was working through some delays to get the core network software and radio software to work reliably together.
Despite some setbacks, DISH said it expects to continue to make significant progress over the next 90 days leading up to its 2022 launch in Las Vegas. However, it’s not just Vegas that DISH is focusing on; the company is working to achieve one of its milestones of having 20% of its network live in 2022 and 70% in 2023. There are 42 markets slated for a 2022 deployment in DISH’s queue waiting for construction to start and has building permits for ⅔ of those. DISH Wireless has plans to begin building in markets soon that are planned to go online in 2023.
DISH gave an update regarding its ongoing feud with T-Mobile regarding the CDMA network shutdown on the call. Earlier this year, T-Mobile announced that it would shut down that network by the end of 2021- to which DISH argued there was an existing asset-sharing agreement made as part of the T-Mobile and Sprint merger. The agreement stated that T-Mobile would sell the network’s spectrum to DISH three years after the Boost Mobile sale in July 2020 with an additional two-year lease-back option. This is imperative for DISH’s Boost Mobile business because over one million customers rely on that network for service. T-Mobile said it would extend the deadline until March of 2023, though Charlie Ergen called this a “false deadline.”
“We’re not against the CDMA shut down, we believe technology needs to advance. But you can’t do it on the back of customers,” Ergen said. “So that’s something they’re going to have to live with their whole life. They’re going to have to live with the fact that they’re anti-consumer to extend their profits. We’ve taken the other approach and we spent a lot of money to upgrade people for the false deadline of January 1, and now we’ve got maybe another false deadline there.”
There’s also been mounting concern from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over using C-Band spectrum for 5G networks. DISH said that it would be willing to lease some of its spectrum to Verizon and AT&T, who have put off launching their C-Band 5G networks until next year while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the FAA work through the spectrum dispute.
“The answer’s yes. We have been very public that we’re wholesale and we know it’s public that we are leasing capacity to T-Mobile today and we do think there are other interested parties,” Ergen said.
Source: Denver Business Journal