Dish’s 5G service goes live in Las Vegas

$30 per month service requires new phone, others coming soon

Dish Network Corp. quietly launched its 5G service to consumers in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday. The $30 per month service includes what Dish calls a “white-glove delivery experience” to bring customer who sign up the one — and so far, one — phone which works it, Motorola’s Edge Plus. Dish separated noted earlier this week that it’s testing its network using Samsung’s Galaxy S22 and will continue using it as a reference platform.

Dish acknowledged the launch in an email sent to RCR Wireless News.

“We’re in nearly every Las Vegas zip code, plus Henderson, Nevada,” the company said. “Right now, customers need to be located in the Las Vegas area, but we’ll contact individuals who register on our website as we launch in their area.”

“As we shared during our February 24 earnings call, our network will span more than 20% of the U.S. population with coverage in June and will be live in more than 120 markets across the country at that time. We’re excited to be up and running in Las Vegas and will be launching in other markets soon,” a company spokesperson said.

The public move lends credence to Dish CEO Erik Carlson’s February claim that 2022 would be a “year of action” for the company after it missed several key milestones and delayed the network’s public launch. 

Las Vegas has long been ground zero for the company’s greenfield 5G network launch, though it initially expected to go live with its 5G network in the third calendar quarter of 2021. 

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen took responsibility for the fumbled launch. He said Dish was technically underprepared, and about six months behind schedule.

“It’s my fault,” he said. “We just didn’t maybe anticipate that we would have to do as much on the technical side.” 

Dish’s 5G journey started out with a plan to spend $1 billion to construct a nationwide NB-IoT network, then $10 billion on a 5G network. Ergen has previously recognized a misalignment between anticipated and actual technical difficulty.

Despite the company’s missteps, it anticipates that its greenfield 5G approach will enable agile advantages over the competition. The company’s chief network officer Mark Rouanne has called Dish’s new network “a network of networks.” 

Dish believes its private 5G enterprise capabilities will be a differentiator against other Tier 1 providers. The company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Stephen Bye told investors that network slicing will help Dish reach customers across different vertical markets and in different industries. 

“The good thing about these private networks that we’re working on is they’re not constrained by the geography of building our macro network,” Dish Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Stephen Bye said during an August earnings call. 

Coming soon to a city near(ish) you

On its Project Genesis website, the company has listed more than 100 cities in 22 states where it plans to bring coverage. The company said in March that it plans to activate 25 metro service areas by June, providing 20% population coverage.

It’s already been a busy infrastructure week for Dish. Dish and Samsung announced a partnership to bring Samsung’s 5G Open RAN-compliant virtualized RAN (vRAN) solutions and radio units to Dish’s 5G network. The Samsung radios — some of which will be Massive MIMO radios — will also support all of Dish’s Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) spectrum bands — n71, n29, n66, n70, n48 and n77.

Moreover, Ceragon Networks announced that Dish had picked the 5G wireless transport specialist for 5G transport, maintenance and support using its disaggregated wireless hauling solutions. The company will use Ceragon’s IP-50 universal E-band radio and IP-50C universal microwave radio.

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Dish’s 5G service goes live in Las Vegas