Dish touts benefits of open vendor 5G network

Dish Network’s Marc Rouanne, Chief Network Officer, updated Mobile World Live on the company’s 5G network build and why open RAN allows it to take a more creative approach to its offering.

“We can pretty much integrate new vendors on the fly and that’s something that I had never seen in the past in a telco,” the former Nokia executive said. “I think it will allow us to bring new functions, or specialised for certain enterprise domains, whereas today it’s the same for everyone, the same for all the different types of services. I think it will allow us to differentiate”.

But Rouanne isn’t predicting big vendor moves in the near future. “We are very loyal to our vendors; they’ve worked very hard with us, so it’s a business choice”, he explained.

Rouanne said there are very few network domains in which Dish relies on more than one vendor. “We ask our vendors to integrate other parties and play a role as a system integrator based on their capability and knowledge, so they pretty much lead their part as one domain”, he said.

A notable exception is the RAN, for which Dish is using both Mavenir and Altiostar, Rouanne added.

The executive also provided an update on Dish Network’s work to integrate the new network with those of partners T-Mobile US and AT&T, saying “classical software” is facilitating the process. “Nokia is certainly our lead core vendor and they are used to this type of testing so that makes it normal; I wouldn’t say easy, there are a lot of details, but it makes it normal”, he explained.

Rouanne also shared details about which companies will provide network orchestration, and how the disaggregation of hardware and software will play out over time, as Dish upgrades its network.