Dish says 5G wireless service rollout met FCC deadline

(Image: Dish Network Corporation/Graphic: The Desk)

Dish Network says its emerging 5G wireless service is now available to over 20 percent of the U.S. population.

The company made the pronouncement in a press release published Wednesday, one day after a deadline imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requiring Dish to make its 5G wireless service available to at least 20 percent of American households.

The condition was one of several imposed by the FCC as part of Dish Network’s acquisition of wireless spectrum licenses offloaded by Sprint when the former was merging with T-Mobile several years ago. Since then, Dish Network has worked to build its own 5G wireless network from scratch, using cloud-based solutions to deliver wireless phone and data connections under the code name “Project Gene5is” (it’s now simply called Project Genesis).

“We’re the only major network in the world built primarily with American vendors,” David Mayo, the executive in charge of network development at Dish Network’s wireless division, said in a statement. Those companies include Dell, Intel, Qualcomm, Cisco and Amazon Web Services.

Last month, Dish Network began offering connections through Project Genesis to customers in Las Vegas, with subscribers paying $30 a month to access unlimited data coupled with unlimited voice time and mobile texting. Dish Network said the only phone that compatible with Project Genesis was the Motorola Edge Plus, which was delivered by a “Project Genesis ambassador” when a customer signed up for service.

Earlier this week, Dish Network’s website still showed that Las Vegas was the only city where its 5G wireless network was offered to customers, with more than 100 locations listed as “coming soon.”

On Wednesday, the company flipped the switch on those communities, and Dish Network now says the company has “expanded service to more than 120 cities across the country.” It also says one other phone — the Samsung Galaxy S22 — and the NetGear Nighthawk 5G wireless hotspot are now compatible with Project Genesis. The Samsung phone will connect to Dish Network’s 5G wireless network where it is available and AT&T’s network in other places, the company said.

Dish Network said other phones will support its 5G wireless network later this year.

“This is an important step forward in our work to connect Americans to our Smart 5G network, but it’s only the beginning,” John Swieringa, the executive in charge of Dish Network’s wireless division, said on Wednesday. “We continue to focus on building out more coverage and bringing innovative 5G services and solutions to our customers.”