Nokia Chosen by DISH Network as Latest Vendor for 5G Network

DISH Network is announcing another 5G partner to add to its already impressive lineup of vendors. Nokia will be assisting DISH as it grows its wireless division and creates a 5G standalone (SA) nationwide network. This comes on the heels of the industry expecting DISH Network to follow the path of Rakuten and what it is continuing to accomplish in Japan, but the leader in satellite television is deciding to focus on Nokia’s software for its 5G network, though it is notable that Nokia assisted Rakuten in creating its network in Japan. The track record that Nokia holds is a very attractive attribute for DISH as it is fairly new to the wireless industry. Nokia’s 5G SA core utilizes containers that can provide end-to-end support. The vendor was chosen by DISH after months of testing and collaboration between DISH and Nokia.

Marc Rouann, the Chief Network Officer for DISH, served as an executive at Nokia during a five-year run before beginning his tenure with DISH Network, so in many ways, the move was bound to happen from the start. The former Nokia exec plays an instrumental role in assisting the Finnish company to become a part of many industry groups including the Open Compute Project (OCP), the O-RAN Alliance, and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP). He has endorsed the move saying in a statement “Nokia’s new release is cloud-native, standalone and ready for full automation.” Nokia’s technology working with the container mode is of huge benefit to DISH and its wireless goals as its vendor VMware’s cloud platform is also compatible.

As technology evolves, containers are becoming more and more popular to advance technology forward by replacing virtual machines as 5G networks grow. By using VMware’s cloud network, this will create the perfect environment for which other vendors including Altiostar, Fujitsu, and Mavenir, can use and thrive in. “Our reference design is based on VMware, and we’ve tested all the vendors we’ve selected with VMware for full automation. We are also testing other platforms, including bare metal, public cloud services,” said a spokesman for DISH.

Nokia brings a lot to the table including its data and voice core, device management, packet core, integration capabilities, subscriber data management, and SA and voice over WiFi access. DISH was considering Rakuten, however, the experience of Nokia combined with the collaborative history between the two companies are likely why DISH decided to go with the Finnish telecom company over Rakuten. Analyst Peter Rysavy puts things into perspective, “It’s not as if Rakuten is a large established vendor in this space. I would expect any new network operator using this architecture to consider all vendors and make their own decisions. There’s no gold standard.”

This adds to what continues to be an exciting year for DISH. After receiving an extension on its mandatory buildout date of 2023, DISH will still look to keep pace to fulfill its new deadline of June 14, 2025, or face a hefty fine of over $2 billion from the FCC. This December will be another great opportunity for the company as the C-band auction that should be hotly contested is approaching. DISH continues to have plenty of 5G activities in the works, but for now, its main focus will continue to be its newest acquisition, Boost Mobile, and balancing its newfound customer base while working towards being a major, nationwide 5G provider throughout the United States.

Source: Fierce Wireless