Dish Network expects to launch 5G wireless services in Las Vegas in a beta phase during the fourth quarter of the year, the company’s Chairman Charlie Ergen said during a conference call with investors.
The executive said that the 5G network in Las Vegas is in the final phase of construction and that the 5G beta service will last a minimum of three months, during which the operator plans to gather customer feedback and troubleshoot issues as its 5G technology transitions from the lab to the real world.
In an investor filing, Dish said that it expects its 5G network in Las Vegas to be completed by the end of the third quarter.
“I think it’ll be in beta for a minimum of 90 days. We’re going to put our network in the cloud, our core in the cloud and start that way. Even though we have a core working today that’s not in the cloud, we decided we [want to] start with the core in the cloud,” Ergen said.
Dish also recently signed a deal with AT&T, on which it will rely for the majority of its service as a MVNO while it deploys its own network infrastructure. Dish explained that the majority of network use for the initial launch in Las Vegas will be on its own network, with AT&T providing some roaming support.
In July, Dish and AT&T struck a $5 billion deal to move Dish’s wireless customer traffic — including customers of its Boost Mobile, Ting Mobile and Republic Wireless brands — to AT&T’s network, instead of Dish continuing the wholesale agreement that had been worked out to use T-Mobile US’ network as part of the settlements that allowed the T-Mo’s acquisition of Sprint to move forward. The agreement isn’t exclusive and doesn’t restrict Dish’s ability to deploy equipment in markets where its users will be accessing AT&T’s network.
EVP of Network Development Dave Mayo noted that Dish aims to complete construction activities for the Las Vegas launch within the next two months.
Dish Network previously said that it will rely on Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the foundation for its cloud-based 5G network. In June, Dish and Dell Technologies formed a strategic infrastructure agreement to support the former’s Open RAN-based 5G network in the U.S. Under this partnership, Dell Technologies will provide Dish with network and edge-compute infrastructure.
Earlier this year, Dish selected Oracle to enable a Service-Based Architecture (SBA) for its 5G core. SBA, part of the 3GPP 5G standard, enables network services to be rapidly incorporated into new applications by Dish or Dish customers through automated, intelligent configuration between network functions.
Dish has also signed multiple agreements for infrastructure access, including one with American Tower for access to up to 20,000 sites.
Through the deal with American Tower, Dish will secure access to the company’s U.S. portfolio of communications sites as it deploys its new nationwide 5G network.
The company had also recently secured new tower agreements with Harmoni Towers, Mobilite, Parallel Infrastructure, Phoenix Tower International (PTI), Tillman Infrastructure, Tower Ventures and Vogue Towers.
Dish had previously announced its intention to provide standalone 5G broadband coverage to 70% of Americans by June 2023.