Thursday, May 30, 2024
Smart Phones

Dish meets FCC’s 5G deadline, saves $2.2 billion

Dish announced today that it has met the FCC’s deadline and its 5G signals now cover 70% of the U.S. The company was able to meet the deadline slightly more than two weeks early, and by doing so it escapes having to give the regulatory agency a “voluntary” $2.2 billion contribution. Dish agreed to meet certain conditions for its 5G rollout in exchange for the FCC’s permission to allow Dish to buy Boost Mobile which paved the way for T-Mobile’s $26 billion purchase of Sprint.
The FCC was concerned that the T-Mobile-Sprint deal would leave the U.S. with only three major carriers which could have resulted in price hikes for wireless service. Last year, Dish met the first condition set by the FCC which was to cover 20% of the nation with 5G service by the end of June. Dish is the first U.S. carrier to offer 5G voice service VoNR (Voice over New Radio).

John Swieringa, president and chief operating officer, Dish Wireless, said, “We have made significant progress on our network buildout, and can now focus on monetizing the network through retail and enterprise growth. With more markets across the country offering the Dish 5G network for voice, text, and data services, our business can start realizing the benefits of owner economics.” Dish says that it will file its FCC buildout report on or before July 14, 2023.

By the end of June 2025, Dish will need to cover 75% of the U.S. with 5G. While that additional 5% percentage-point coverage would seem to be a snap for Dish to reach in 24 months, the extra coverage would include many rural locations that are not easily reached by cellular signals. To reach the 2025 deadline, Dish will have to spend money that it does not have and has been looking to find assets to sell or a partner that will contribute some much-needed cash.
Dish is building a standalone 5G network; in the U.S., only T-Mobile has such a network. A standalone 5G network has a 5G core, unlike other networks which started out life delivering 4G LTE signals and had 5G technology built over it. A standalone 5G network offers faster data speeds and more capacity.

The Dish 5G network can be employed by Boost Mobile and Boost Infinite customers in over 50 markets. A network-compatible device is necessary to connect to the network and Dish says additional Boost Mobile and Boost Infinite markets, and more 5G network-compatible devices will be added throughout the year.


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