DISH has Begun Building the “Network of Networks”

DISH Wireless has begun building a nationwide and innovative 5G network. It has been dubbed the “network of networks,” as in a connection experience that can be shaped to the unique enterprise.

T-Mobile and Sprint Merger

A chief concern over the Sprint and T-Mobile merger is that it would reduce the number of mobile carriers in the U.S. to three. In order to prevent this and still allow the merger, Dish Network stepped in to fill the void, and the New T-Mobile made certain concessions to facilitate it, such as selling Boost Mobile to Dish and providing Dish access to its cellular network while it brought its own 5G network online.

Partnership With Amazon Web Services and A&T

Dish planned a 5G network that would be different than any that had been attempted before in that its infrastructure would be based in the cloud. For that, it needed a partner. Amazon would provide all of the cloud-native network functions and flexibility that Dish need to carry out its plan.

It also needed to continue providing cell phone service to the cellular customers it already had, and in order to do that it needed access to the T-Mobile network. Practically out of the gate, Dish accused T-Mobile of not playing fair and circumventing the agreements it had made to achieve the merger. Dish could have pursued it legally, but that would have complicated an already constrained schedule. Instead, it found a perhaps unlikely partner in AT&T who provided it the access it needed to move forward.

Project Genesis Is Born

Project Genesis is the working name for Dish’s 5G network, which will have minimal RAN—radio access network—components and exist almost entirely within the AWS cloud. Some industry experts were skeptical of the proposed schedule in large part because Dish was doing something that had not been done before, but as of this writing, Project Genesis has just gone live to paying customers in Las Vegas. It is no longer in beta and will continue to spread into new cities as the year unfolds.

The Network of Networks

Marc Rouanne, the Chief Network Officer at Dish, has used the term “network of networks” in order to help others conceptualize the vision that Dish has. Other 5G networks are limited by the physical infrastructure and the somewhat permanent choices that had to be made in order to accomplish it. In other words, no existing 5G network is perfect for any one enterprise. This is where Dish 5G differs. It has a standalone 5G architecture that is exposed to enterprise users via APIs, and those users can then employ those APIs to deliver a 5G that is entirely tailored to their unique needs.

Partnership With Dell

Dish’s most recent partnership is with Dell Technologies. Dish is a cloud company. It needed a software company to realize its vision fully, and that is where Dell comes in. It has substantial industry experience developing unique software solutions from APIs, and it can begin developing the tools and other resources that enterprise users will need.

The Road Ahead

Dell is specifically investing in OTEL, which is its Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab. OTEL is a hardware- and software-agnostic platform that will help clients test and verify their multi-vendor solutions. This quickens the time to market significantly, but it is currently unclear when we will see one of these solutions reach end-users or be employed in another real-world solution.