Dish Network is making its spectrum available to enterprises for private wireless deployments through a partnership with integrator WCI Technologies. The companies said they are targeting enterprise customers in the oil and gas, health care, and mining industries, among others.

Once Dish launches its 5G network, the partnership will expand to include enterprise 5G services that use the public network, the companies said.

WCI Technologies is a Houston-based systems integrator targeting edge computing, connected security and private 5G. The company got its start providing technology services to hotels and now serves 4,300 properties. WCI is the nation’s largest commercial authorized dealer for Dish satellite video services.

“Expanding our longstanding partnership with WCI into wireless will propel our growth in serving the enterprise market, and we are confident that they have the expertise and contacts to connect our innovative solutions to many key industries,” said Dish Wireless COO Stephen Bye.

Dish Wireless plans to provide RF design and 5G deployment expertise to private wireless customers, while WCI will handle sales, marketing and systems integration.

WCI joins a growing list of U.S. system integrators that are partnering with wireless industry players in order to add private cellular networks to their portfolios. CTS, Black Box and STEP CG are among the integrators addressing the private wireless market.

Dish’s plans

Dish Wireless did not respond to questions about which part of its spectrum portfolio will be used for the new private wireless offering. The company was one of the biggest buyers of CBRS spectrum when the government auctioned the mid-band frequencies last year, and many other companies are using CBRS for private wireless deployments.

With a long roster of hardware and software vendors helping it build its 5G network, Dish should have no problem finding suppliers for private wireless deployments. Nokia is a likely choice, as Dish’s primary core vendor and a major player already in private wireless deployments. Dish has also committed to an open RAN architecture, so it’s likely the carrier will use open architectures in its private networks.

Dish could also turn to a new partner, Geoverse, which has supplied core network software for a number of CBRS deployments in the U.S. Geoverse inked a private wireless deal with WCI last month, promising customers “a managed offering that can utilize both Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and 5G-ready licensed LTE spectrum.”

AWS could also play a role in Dish’s private wireless plans. The hyperscaler is hosting Dish’s public 5G network and named Dish as a customer when it announced its own private 5G offering at AWS re:Invent. The surprise private 5G move from AWS left some wondering how exactly Dish would play in the market.

According to Bye, Dish will play in the market by changing the game. “We’re building a smart 5G network that will disrupt the industry with advanced capabilities including customization, automation, security and agility,” he said in announcing the new partnership with WCI. 

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