AT&T, Verizon, and the newly-merged T-Mobile/Sprint carriers have all made big pushes on their respective 5G networks this year, but there is a fourth 5G provider that will give consumers another options soon: Dish Network. Based in Colorado and primarily known as a satellite TV provider, Dish has made a $1.4 billion deal to acquire Boost Mobile and is building a 5G network from scratch. Dish’s commitment to 5G was essential in T-Mobile and Sprint gaining approval to merge, as Dish promised to step in as the 4th major 5G provider in the US.
Dish chairman and co-founder Charlie Ergen discussed their Q1 financial report and their 5G plans this week, confirming that funding is not an issue and that they plan to “build a better network that’s less expensive and less expensive to operate and more flexible” than the other major carriers. “It’s Netflix versus Blockbuster,” he said.
Dish’s 5G network will be ready for a trial launch in one to-be-named US city by the end of 2020. Per their agreement with the US government, they must provide 5G coverage to at least 70% of the country by 2023 or incur penalties.