It’s been about 10 months since Dish announced it will be using 5G gear from Samsung Electronics. Since then, the two companies have made it through the field test phase and successfully activated the first live Samsung sites within the Dish 5G network.

As of the end of 2022, Samsung had supplied an initial shipment of 24,000 open RAN-compliant radios. It’s also supplying 5G virtualized RAN (vRAN) software solutions.

The companies say they’re accelerating their deployment, no doubt with an eye on the June 14 deadline for Dish to offer 5G to 70% of the U.S. population.

“Samsung is a key player in the Dish Wireless Open RAN ecosystem, created in collaboration with additional Open RAN leaders like Dell, VMware, AWS and others,” said Dish Wireless EVP and Chief Network Officer and former Nokia executive Marc Rouanne in a statement.

“Samsung’s 5G vRAN solutions and our shared innovation process allow Dish Wireless to continue the Dish 5G multi-vendor, open and interoperable cloud-native network buildout, as we progress to covering 70 percent of the U.S. population,” he said.

Dish has a long list of vendors that it’s working with, including Nokia for its cloud-native 5G standalone core, but unlike legacy operators in the U.S., Dish isn’t using equipment from Ericsson. Dish, which releases its full fourth quarter 2022 results on Thursday, boasts that it’s greenfield cloud-native, virtualized network will allow it to more affordably and nimbly compete in 5G than rival legacy operators. 

For its part, Samsung provided a comprehensive portfolio of 5G solutions to Dish, including its virtualized distributed unit (vDU), virtualized central unit (vCU) and open RAN-compliant 5G radios, which support Dish’s spectrum bands, the companies said in a joint press release.

Samsung also built new dual-band and tri-band open RAN-compliant radios specific for this deployment.

Samsung’s 5G wins in U.S.

It’s another example of Samsung making inroads in the wireless infrastructure space in the U.S., most notably with Verizon. In 2020, Samsung signed a major network deal with Verizon worth $6.65 billion that runs through the end of 2025. Verizon also uses network equipment from Ericsson and Nokia.

Earlier in 2020, U.S. Cellular awarded Samsung a contract to supply LTE and 5G network solutions. The value of that deal was not disclosed.

Samsung was part of early open RAN trials at AT&T, but it’s not clear the extent of Samsung’s role in AT&T networks these days. In a statement last fall, AT&T said it continues to work with Samsung across the company, including in the area of public safety and in particular, with a nationwide push-to-talk solution built to mission-critical standards.

In the cable category, Comcast is another customer for Samsung’s 5G radios, both for its Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and 600 MHz spectrum holdings. Last September, the company said it will use Samsung’s gear in dense, high-traffic areas to improve the customer experience and lower its costs.

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