Dish said that Samsung open radio access network (O-RAN) radios and 5G virtualized RAN software are live on the Dish 5G network. A Dish spokesperson confirmed in an email to Telecompetitor that the company until now had relied on Fujitsu radios.
“A key benefit of our O-RAN network is that we are not tied to a single vendor,” the spokesperson said.
Fujitsu radios underlie the Dish 5G network that launched in more than 120 markets in June of last year. But Dish’s first order with Samsung is comprised of 24,000 radios, indicating that the vendor is poised for an important role in the network as well.
“We will continue to use both Samsung and Fujitsu radios with Samsung’s VRAN software solution integrated across both vendors’ radios,” said the spokesperson, who also noted that Dish plans to cover 70% of the U.S. population by June.
Dish announced a multi-year agreement with Samsung in May 2022.
Some people were skeptical when Dish announced plans for a nationwide wireless network several years ago. But the company has been able to roll out service quite quickly, in part because the company chose to rely heavily on a virtualized O-RAN approach to the network.
One advantage of that approach is that it helps minimize the training for technicians. Because O-RAN is standardized, it eliminates the need to obtain training from multiple proprietary equipment manufacturers.
Samsung equipment that Dish has deployed includes virtualized distributed units (vDUs), virtualized central units (vCUs) and O-RAN 5G radios.
The radios are dual-band and tri-band and were built specifically to operate in spectrum bands for which Dish holds licenses.
“Samsung is a key player in the Dish Open RAN ecosystem, created in collaboration with additional Open RAN leaders like Dell, VMware, AWS and others,” said Marc Rouanne, Dish executive vice president and chief network officer for Dish Wireless, in a press release.