Key deadline for Dish 5G rollout approaches

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A key deadline imposed by federal regulators for Dish Network’s 5G wireless network rollout is Tuesday, with Dish expected to offer its network to 20 percent of the population.

The deadline was imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) two years ago when Dish Network acquired wireless licenses from Sprint, which was in the process of merging with T-Mobile. The merger was approved by federal regulators in part on the condition that Dish Network use its stockpile of wireless spectrum to launch a robust challenger to the combined T-Mobile and its two other competitors, AT&T and Verizon.

At an industry conference several weeks ago, a Dish Network executive said the company was “on target” to meet the deadline. But Dish Network has only launched its 5G wireless service in Las Vegas, with other markets listed as “coming soon” on the website of Project Gene5is, the brand Dish Network is providing service under.

“The FCC deadline is at the end of the day today,” a Dish Network spokesperson told trade publication Fierce Wireless on Tuesday. The spokesperson apparently offered no other details, other than to say additional information would be provided “soon,” Fierce Wireless said.

In prior public statements, company executives have affirmed a slew of challenges associated with building out and launching a 5G wireless service, including supply chain disruptions linked to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and unanticipated expenditures associated with the network build-out.

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