Forget what you think you know about Dish’s bumpy entrance into the 5G market. 

Dave Mayo, executive vice president of network development at Dish told Silverlinings that the nascent mobile network operator (MNO) wouldn’t have met its FCC-mandated target of June 14, 2022 to cover 20% of the U.S. population with 5G at all, without having Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosting Dish’s 5G core in its cloud. 

“We’ve put the whole core network in the cloud, utilizing AWS, which is different than anybody has done — frankly — at this scale on the planet,” Mayo said.

Mayo said that deploying the network this way gives Dish a massive time-to-market advantage. “I’ve built networks before in my past life, as you know,” Mayo said. “It would have taken us a lot longer to have built out the core network and the switching centers in order to be able to host that ourselves.”

Enterprise Incoming

Mayo also stated that the cloud-native network will give Dish a substantial leg-up in the enterprise space. “We will be able to deploy core network elements in enterprise locations and mitigate the need for those enterprises to send their data back to our switching center,” Mayo said.

“That’s a really big deal,” he continued. Certain industries [For instance, banks and hospitals] just really don’t want their data leaving their facilities, Mayo stated.

“I think you’ll begin to see us putting our toe in the enterprise space this year,” Mayo said. “I don’t think it will be until 2024 that you see us doing really meaningful things .”

Mayo said that 2023 will be all about Dish getting its consumer 5G offering into place.

Nonetheless, Dish is beginning its enterprise push. “[Marc] Rouanne has started to kick off some programs with the developer ecosystem to expose our interfaces, such that they can develop new and differentiated service models,” Mayo said.

We’ll have to see what apps and services might derive from Dish flashing its APIs at passing cloud developers. Hopefully, the greenfield carrier can hold onto its top talent as it ventures into the largely unexplored territory of cloud-native 5G.

For his part, Mayo doesn’t expect that we will see much 5G virtualized network slicing, which has been heavily hyped for enterprise users since 2019, arrive this year. “I think that operators are at various stages in terms of their implementation of slicing capabilities,” Mayo said. “And I think CIOs are scratching their heads and saying, ‘What do I really need?’” 

For his part, Mayo thinks we are in a flattened hype cycle right now, and enterprise 5G features like network slicing will finally emerge over the next two years.

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