Dish Network has pledged to build its 5G network by 2023 to become the fourth telecommunications company in the United States. in competition with Verizon, AT&T, and the new T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s merger was approved by government regulators after the companies promised to help make Dish Network the fourth competitor after the combination eliminated Sprint from the market. In an effort to fulfill its pledge, Dish has partnered with Mavenir, a mobile network software company, to build its 5G wireless network.
Dish stated that its deal with Mavenir “will help it build its network through low-cost solutions that are less-reliant on cell towers and radio base stations.” Dish added that building its 5G network “from the ground up through open-source technology gives the company a cheaper alternative and the flexibility to work with multiple vendors.” Other wireless carriers have typically used Ericsson and Nokia as vendors. Dish is hopeful that its effort will reduce costs and create competition.
Dish began building its 5G network in 2017 with an original FCC deadline of March 2020. Dish had the FCC adjust its spectrum license to help it fulfill its agreement with the Department of Justice. As part of the agreement with the T-Mobile – Sprint merger, Dish’s deadline was extended to June 2023. However, Dish has been criticized for its unused wireless spectrum, totaling a $20 billion portfolio.
“Time in winding down for Dish,” Roger Entner, an analyst for Recon Analytics, said to Reuters. “If they don’t find a way to build a network, they lose their spectrum.” Entner added that it is likely that Dish will partner with more companies to meet the FCC’s deadline to provide its network to 70 percent of the United States.
Dish faces a $2.2 billion fine if it does not meet the June 2023 deadline.