DISH has announced another open radio access network (O-RAN) vendor –the latest in a growing string of announcements about the open standard technology that DISH sees as critical to its plans to build a 5G network from scratch. The new vendor is Microelectronics Technology, which will supply O-RAN radio units.
DISH says it has integrated and validated Microelectronics Technology Inc.’s Frequency Division Duplex radio into its O-RAN Network. DISH also said it will use the vendor’s low band tri-band and mid band dual-band radio units (RUs) for its nationwide deployment.
The validation featured on-air 5G connections, said Marc Rouanne, DISH’s Executive Vice President and Chief Network Officer in a press release about the latest DISH O-RAN vendor. It took place through DISH’s fully virtualized standalone 5G core network in Cheyenne, WY.
DISH has made several announcements in recent months. In June, it said that Fujitsu and Altiostar Networks would provide RUs and Open vRAN software, respectively.
Another key DISH O-RAN vendor is Mavenir, which is working with the company in two ways. In April, DISH said it will use the company’s cloud native OpenRAN software.
DISH said last month that it also will use Mavenir’s RCS Business Messaging product. The cloud-based business messaging platform uses rich communications services and messaging-as-a-platform (RCS and MaaP) technologies to enable advanced voice and multimedia messaging such as cloud-native video, voice over Wi-Fi and Voice over LTE (VoWiFi and VoLTE).
DISH says its approach will increase flexibility and reduce cost due to use of the efficiencies of the cloud and vendor-agnostic “white box” technology. It seems particularly well-suited to the company, which has no legacy network to protect. This greenfield approach – albeit a greenfield that is in the atmosphere – could enable technology decisions that are different and possibly more aggressive than carriers with existing investments to protect.
A challenge to this approach is ensuring that the pieces actually fit together without mismatches and/or less than promised functionality. Last month, DISH announced that it will work with Qualcomm to test open and virtualized 5G RAN technology. Qualcomm said that it also is working on O-RAN with AT&T, Verizon and other carriers worldwide.