Dish To Build Its 5G Network On AWS’ Cloud


By Kelly Hill

Dish Network will rely on Amazon Web Services as the foundation for its cloud-based 5G network, the two companies announced today.

Dish and AWS have signed a strategic collaboration agreement, the latest in a string of announcements from Dish as it gears up for network deployment. Dish has also recently signed multiple agreements for infrastructure access, including one with American Tower for access to up to 20,000 sites, and is bolstering its customer base with the acquisition of Wi-Fi-first MVNO operator Republic Wireless’ subscribers.

Dish plans to deploy its cloud-based 5G Open Radio Access Network starting in Las Vegas later this year and says it will “connect all of its hardware and network management resources” through AWS. Dish says that it is working exclusively with vendors who offer cloud-native tech and bringing them together on AWS systems; AWS will not only underpin Dish’s O-RAN network, but also its operation and business support systems (OSS/BSS), which Dish says will be automated and enable provisioning and operation of 5G workloads, including private networks and the use of network slicing.

“Through this collaboration with AWS, we will operate not just as a communications services provider, but as a digital services provider harnessing the combined power of 5G connectivity and the cloud. Together, we will enable our customers to take full advantage of the potential of 5G. Our approach will revolutionize wireless connectivity by giving customers the ability to customize and scale their network experience on-demand,” said DISH co-founder and chairman, Charlie Ergen. “As a new carrier, leveraging AWS and its extensive network of partners enables us to differentiate ourselves by operating our 5G network with a high degree of automation, utilizing the talent of AWS-trained developers and helping our customers bring new 5G applications to market faster than ever before.”

The vision Dish lays out is that by building its network on AWS, it will be easier for developers to work within the AWS ecosystem to put together new 5G applications, leveraging standard APIs to access data on Dish’s network attributes, and bringing in AWS services and partner capabilities for those applications. Dish said that using AWS infrastructure will enable it to offload functions such as analytics, machine learning and related workloads to AWS so that systems can act on such data in near-real-time (including using distributed AWS compute resources such as its Local Zones for low-latency compute and Outposts for on-premise deployments) and lean on AWS professional services to automate rapid deployment of 5G network slices customized for enterprises.

“DISH’s cloud-native and truly virtualized 5G network is a clear example of how AWS customers can use our proven infrastructure and unparalleled portfolio of services to reinvent industries,” said CEO of AWS, Andy Jassy in a statement. “This collaboration means DISH and its customers can bring new consumer- and enterprise-centric services to the market as quickly as they’re created to deliver on the promise of 5G. Together, we’re opening the door to new technologies that will transform factories, workplaces, entertainment, and transportation in ways people have only dreamed.”

Dish says it will be using AWS’ Graviton2-based instances to run its compute workloads and its Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) for containerization, and it also plans to use AWS machine learning at its network edge “to help improve service by predicting network congestion at specific locations, as well as recognizing anomalies in network function, and then automatically taking corrective actions to optimize performance.”

“Running on AWS, DISH’s 5G network will … significantly outpace legacy networks in the speed with which it can facilitate hardware and software upgrades,” Dish said in its release.

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