DISH Wireless recently asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for special temporary authorization (STA) use of the 600 MHz band spectrum for three months as the new carrier looks to test its 5G network in Las Vegas and Denver. Currently, Bluewater Wireless has ownership of that spectrum and under the FCC’s STA process doesn’t allow applications to use spectrum that is licensed to someone else. But the good news for DISH Wireless, Bluewater has provided written consent for the authorization.
DISH said in its filing to the FCC, “The Bluewater licenses that are the subject of this request are in two of the markets where Dish is validating and testing equipment for its new Open-RAN compliant 5G broadband network. DISH will use this additional spectrum to test carrier aggregation functionality paired with Dish-licensed 600 MHz spectrum. Dish is unable to adequately test CA using only its own licensed spectrum due to insufficient bandwidth in the two test markets and because the contemplated CA tests require non-contiguous 600 MHz spectrum blocks.”
DISH Wireless is currently building out a nationwide cloud-native, Open RAN-based 5G broadband network and the beta testing in Las Vegas and Denver are two major steps for the new carrier in achieving that goal. Over the past few years, the operator has signed 30+ multi-year agreements with top technology players, including Mavenir, Amazon, MTI, Intel, and Qualcomm, just to name a few, to help build its greenfield 5G network.
DISH wrote in its filing, “In both Denver and Las Vegas, Dish holds the 600 MHz F and G blocks, providing contiguous blocks of paired 5×5 MHz licenses. However, Dish anticipates needing more low band spectrum in some markets to meet customer demand in the future. When and if additional 600 MHz spectrum becomes available, either when the Commission auctions unassigned spectrum or through future partnerships, Dish plans to use carrier aggregation at the market level to combine multiple 600 MHz assets to add capacity and improve data throughput speeds.”
The operator added, “To realize this goal, DISH needs to conduct CA testing in a real-world environment using the specific radios and handsets developed by its vendors for its 5G broadband network. And to test 600 MHz CA, DISH requires non-contiguous spectrum blocks. Bluewater’s A Block licenses in Denver and Las Vegas meet this need.”
DISH Wireless also stated that it’s seeking more spectrum resources “to enhance its buildout and offer 5G service with sufficient speed and capacity to compete with the incumbent carriers.”
This request is crucial for DISH Wireless as the carrier hopes to launch a beta network before the end of 2021 and a live, real-world network rollout at the beginning of 2022. The goal of the three-month 5G test is to gather feedback and troubleshoot issues as DISH’s 5G network transitions from theory to execution.
Source: RCR Wireless