DISH Network announced on November 7, 2019 that they’ve added two well-known players in the wireless industry, Marc Rouanne and Stephen Bye to their wireless leadership team. Both will join DISH as executive vice presidents, Rouanne will serve as Chief Network Officer and Bye will serve as Chief Commercial Officer, and both will report directly to Charlie Ergen, co-founder and current chairman of DISH Network.
“There isn’t a pattern for the kind of network we are building in the United States and we need the best people in the world to make our vision of a virtualized standalone 5G broadband network a reality,” said Ergen. “Marc and Stephen will help lead our work to redefine the American wireless landscape to the benefit of consumers.”
Rouanne will oversee the strategy and architecture of DISH’s 5G network, its core and its cloud and edge strategies. He brings more than 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry, most recently serving as President of Mobile Networks and Chief Innovation and Operating Officer of Nokia and chairman of the boar of Alcatel-Lucent.
“I’ve been watching over the years as the DISH team has patiently assembled its incredible portfolio and refined its wireless vision,” said Rouanne. “This team is positioned to deliver a paradigm shift to the American wireless landscape and I’m proud to help make the vision a reality.”
“A visionary and advocate for software-defined and natively automated networks, Marc will be the ideal partner and leader as we design and build the nation’s first cloud-native 5G broadband network,” said Ergen. “He brings a proven track record in delivering transformational innovation.”
Bye is a 28-year telecommunications industry veteran and most recently served as CEO of Connectivity Wireless and previously served as President of C-Spire and CTO of Sprint. He will be in charge of leading the DISH wireless development team, who’s mission according to PR News Wire is to, “ define, develop and market commercial applications, as well as establish strategic enterprise partnerships that are able to harness the unique architecture of DISH’s software-defined 5G broadband network.”
“DISH is positioned to fundamentally redefine how we think about wireless at all levels, from the retail consumer to the largest enterprise and governmental use cases,” said Bye. “This greenfield network, the first in a generation, will be an engine of innovation for our economy.”
“Stephen shares our vision for the transformative power our 5G network will deliver to consumers and enterprises of all types,” said Ergen. “He will play a critical role in developing and commercializing innovative and disruptive applications built around our unique capabilities like network slicing, flexible capacity management and massive connectivity.”
DISH Network has spent the past 10 years accumulating real estate on the wireless spectrum and plans to launch their own 5G network pending the merger with Sprint and T-Mobile, that will cost the company about $10 billion to build. They’ve been tasked to build out a network that’s capable of serving 70% of their customers by 2023 or pay a hefty $2 billion fine.
While the T-Mobile and Sprint merger is playing its way through the courts and expected to go to trial in December, Ergen and the DISH team are still working full-steam ahead on the buildout of their network. “Everything we’re doing here is assuming this merger’s gonna go through,” Ergen said Thursday on the company’s Q3 earnings call. “We’re not working a plan B.”
It’s exciting to see how drastically all of the moving pieces will change the wireless landscape, regardless of how things play out. The wireless industry will be shaken up a bit whichever direction the tide decides to roll.