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Dish said today that it will use Nokia to deploy its 5G standalone core network on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure. Dish has committed to building a 5G nationwide network and unlike the three major U.S. wireless carriers, the company doesn’t have a legacy of earlier-generation infrastructure – a reality that is driving some innovative network architecture decisions.

“Running the Nokia 5G SA core on AWS will optimize our network operations to launch new software and services rapidly and efficiently, enabling the integration of countless innovative use cases for customers,” said Marc Rouanna, Dish chief network officer, in today’s announcement. “This collaboration is an important step forward on our mission to deploy the United States’ first cloud-native, OpenRAN-based 5G network.”

Dish previously said its first 5G market will be Las Vegas, to be turned up later this year.

5G Standalone Core Benefits

The term 5G standalone (5G SA) core refers specifically to core infrastructure dedicated to 5G services that is not shared with earlier-generation services. A 5G standalone core can support services that aren’t possible when 5G is deployed in non-standalone mode, in which core network infrastructure is shared between 5G and earlier-generation offerings.

As Dish explained in today’s press release, a 5G standalone core can support “new enterprise and consumer 5G use cases quickly and securely.”

A key 5G SA capability is network slicing, which gives a wireless operator the ability to tailor service parameters to the needs of specific customers. An example might be a service optimized for video streaming.

The three major wireless carriers initially deployed 5G in non-standalone mode, leveraging their existing earlier-generation network core. Since then, they have begun to deploy 5G standalone infrastructure, which provides additional benefits.

Dish announced in September 2020 that it would use Nokia for its 5G standalone core and announced in April 2021 that it would use AWS for edge computing. But the carrier did not previously say that the Nokia 5G SA equipment would be deployed in the AWS cloud.

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