Dish showed off its first coverage maps for 2022 and 2023 at its analyst day yesterday, showing where people will be able to get the brand new “Boost Infinite” service on the first new national cellular network the US has seen in decades.
Coverage will begin in mid-2022 with cities like Kansas City, St. Louis, Detroit, Omaha and Syracuse, bypassing the country’s most populous coastal areas. By 2023, every major city in the continental US will be covered, with large swathes of native coverage around Chicago and from New Hampshire to Washington DC. Other parts of the country will be covered through roaming agreements with AT&T and T-Mobile, executive vice president of network deployment Dave Mayo said at the event.
The rollout is driven by FCC mandates to cover 20% of the US population by mid-2022 and 70% by 2023, Mayo said. Following Dish’s focus on cost, that means focusing on where people are. By 2025, Dish plans to cover 80% of the country’s population, but will only be able to cover a third of the square mileage. You’ll take care of the rest with your 10-year AT&T roaming agreement.
Dish’s June 2022 coverage map (cities covered in orange) shows the carrier starting by focusing on midsize cities.
By June 2023, Dish expects to cover most major metropolitan areas with its own network and complete the rest of the country by roaming.
“AT&T’s roaming agreement complements the FCC mandate and gives us a nationwide presence from the start,” Mayo said. “We will prioritize the areas where it makes the most financial sense first.”
Dish emphasized that their strategy is to build the network quickly, cheaply and very under control. Nearly all of its cell sites share locations with other carriers, avoiding the need to acquire real estate, Mayo said. The use of “open RAN” and operator virtualization means it loads less hardware per site, and what it loads is much easier to update via software than other carriers’ systems, he said.
It looks like performance is going to be surprisingly good, when Dish gathers its spectrum. Right now, Dish is selling a Motorola Edge+ phone in Las Vegas that works on the n66 and n71 5G bands, but that’s not the real strategy, Dish president Charlie Ergen explained.
Dish president Charlie Ergen explains that Dish has airwaves linking three sections of midband.
The operator has been acquiring parts of three different sub-bands around 3.5 GHz, we would call them C-Band, CBRS and 3.45 Ghz, but in particular, Ergen noted, it has been acquiring parts of them that are side by side. from the other. That means Dish can more easily combine its properties for broader channels, creating speeds and capacity that could rival the biggest players.
“After a decade, we have amassed 150 MHz of mid- and low-band spectrum and over 1,000 MHz of high-band spectrum. [mmWave] frequencies,” Ergen said. “In the center of [the 3.5GHz] band, we have up to 80mhz of a continuous block of licensed spectrum,” he said.
Will “Boost Infinite” pay you in crypto?
Boost Infinite will be Dish’s new postpaid brand.
So good. I got in trouble months ago for interpreting a press release from Dish that said the company wanted to pay users with cryptocurrency. But Stephen Stokols, Dish’s executive vice president of retail wireless services (and head of Boost), once again made it look like they were going to pay users with cryptocurrencies.
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While Dish currently sells services under the “Project Genesis” moniker, Stokols said that this fall, “Boost Infinite” would be the company’s main postpaid brand.
He didn’t announce prices or service plans, but he did give some hints. First, Boost pricing would move from “competitive” to “aggressive” to “disruptive” as the network grows and the company is able to host more customers on its network, rather than roaming.
Stokols suggested that people using less data would pay less, as opposed to the one-size-fits-all price for unlimited data. Stokols poked fun at the “21,000 carrier-owned offline stores” of the Big Three carriers and made a strong case for eSIM support, saying it wanted to make it easier to switch carriers and plans without physical stores or SIMs. . He also said it’s possible he could “turn your unused data into real digital currency” (see? Paying you in crypto!) and “leverage decentralized finance to get the latest iconic devices.”
More details about the Boost Infinite service plans will come out this fall, Stokols said.
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