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Nokia Chosen by DISH Network as a New Vendor for 5G Network

Nokia building

DISH Network continues to create partnerships and find vendors to build out its 5G standalone (SA) nationwide network. The latest addition to its vendor list is Nokia. While many were expecting DISH to replicate what Rakuten is accomplishing in Japan, it appears to be focusing on Nokia’s software for its 5G network. Ironically, Nokia also assisted Rakuten in building its network throughout Japan. Nokia’s proven track record is attractive for DISH as it continues to enter the wireless industry. Nokia uses a 5G SA core with containers that can provide end-to-end support. The decision was made after months of testing and collaboration between DISH and Nokia.

It is worth noting that Marc Rouanne, the Chief Network Officer for DISH, was an executive for Nokia serving for five years before his tenure with the satellite television giant. Marc helped the company become a part of many industry groups including the Open Compute Project (OCP), the O-RAN Alliance, and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP). Marc is endorsing the move as he mentioned in a statement, “Nokia’s new release is cloud-native, standalone and ready for full automation.” Using technology that works well with the container model is a boost for DISH’s wireless goals as its vendor VMware’s cloud platform is also compatible. 

Containers are becoming helping technology evolve and replacing virtual machines as networks continue to grow. Using VMware’s cloud network will allow the perfect environment for which other vendors can use and thrive on including Altiostar, Fujitsu, and Mavenir. “Our reference design is based on VMware, and we’ve tested all the vendors we’ve selected with VMware for full automation. We are also testing other platforms, including bare metal, public cloud services,” said one spokesman for DISH.

The Finnish telecom company will be bringing plenty to the table including data and voice core, device management, packet core, integration capabilities, subscriber data management, and SA and voice over WiFi access. Rakuten was in consideration for assisting DISH, however, the experience of Nokia and the collaborative history are likely to have played a role as to why DISH Network decided to go with Nokia instead. As analyst Peter Rysavy puts it, “It’s not as if Rakuten is a large established vendor in this space. I would expect any new network operator using this architecture to consider all vendors and make their own decisions. There’s no gold standard.”

These steps are the latest in an exciting year for DISH. Recently granted an extension on its mandatory buildout date of 2023, DISH is still hustling to fulfill its new deadline of June 14, 2025 to avoid a fine of over $2 billion from the FCC. With an incredible opportunity approaching in December for the C-band auction that should be hotly contested, DISH continues to have plenty of 5G activities on the horizon. For now, the future nationwide wireless carrier will focus on its newest acquisition, Boost Mobile while balancing maintaining this network with continuing to grow.

Source: Fierce Wireless

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