Dish Network will host an event with FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly tomorrow focusing on 5G services using airwaves below 6 GHz.
The session is part of a multi-day conference being held outside Washington, D.C., by the International Wireless Industry Consortium. A Dish executive will deliver a keynote presentation tomorrow morning before O’Rielly participates in an “armchair session” examining concerns regarding 5G deployments in sub-6 MHz bands.
“Spectrum below 6 GHz possesses technical advantages and ecosystem availability to provide an immediate solution to deploy fifth-generation networks,” according to a description of tomorrow’s event. “Expectedly, sub-6 GHz bands will be a key enabler for 5G, and with that, usher in new network deployment paradigms and innovative service offerings leading to economically efficient business models. What needs to be seen now is how the path to [the] fifth generation of mobile broadband unravels in this spectrum, how end-to-end networks migrate from previous generation [networks], and how new approaches to network functions bring promised efficiencies to market.”
As carriers look toward 5G technologies and services, they have increasingly focused on high-band spectrum that offers increased capacity but a limited range of coverage. But Dish sits on a significant portfolio of midband spectrum that could also be used for 5G offerings.
Tomorrow’s event will explore the potential for sub-6 GHz spectrum in developing and deploying 5G networks, and will “evaluate advantages and compromises” of 5G deployments in bands lower than 6 GHz.
Dish said last week that it plans to launch a narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network to meet the FCC’s buildout requirements for its spectrum. FCC rules stipulated that the company must achieve 40% signal coverage on the 700 MHz E-Block licenses it purchased in 2008 by the end of the month, or reach a 70% buildout by March 2020. And Dish faces similar mandates for its licenses in the AWS-4 band.
Dish said it will continue to explore partnership opportunities, however, and is “open to exploring joint build partnerships” to reduce deployment costs. Walter Piecyk of BTIG Research noted that building a dedicated 5G network could be far less expensive than deploying an LTE network from the ground up to compete with legacy carriers in the market for traditional consumer wireless services.