Dish says it will meet its June 30th 5G deadline and will avoid paying the FCC $2.2 billion

Dish says it will meet its June 30th 5G deadline and will avoid paying the FCC $2.2 billion
For T-Mobile's acquisition of Sprint to get the coveted FCC approval, Dish Network said that it would replace Sprint as the nation's "fourth nationwide facilities-based network competitor." But the FCC did force Sprint to cover 20% of the nation with its 5G signals by June 2022. Dish met that objective and now it must cover a whopping 70% of the nation with 5G by the end of next month.

It sounds like a daunting challenge, but Dish says that it is up to the task. It better be. If so some reason Dish cannot meet the goal, it will be forced to make a $2.2 billion "voluntary contribution" to the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $2.2 billion.

Per RCR Wireless, at the CTIA's 5G summit last week, Dish’s Executive VP of Network Development Dave Mayo said that the company would meet the latest deadline. Last Wednesday, Mayo said, "We have to have 70 percent of the country covered in some 28 days, and we will meet that objective." He added that "It took a lot of work to develop and get VoNR (Voice over New Radio or Voice over 5G) right but we cover now 70 million POPs (points of presence) in the country, over 50 markets have a VoNR service that rides on our network."

It should be noted that only a small number of handsets support VoNR at this point including the Galaxy S21 series, Galaxy S22 series, Galaxy S23 series, and some Oppo handsets. But that has nothing to do with how quickly Dish is building its 5G network. Mayo refers to the "record time" that it is taking to build out and he says, "Having better than 235 million covered POPs in just over three years is a pretty remarkable accomplishment."

Once Dish meets the June 30th deadline, Chairman Charles Ergen said that the company will pause capital expenditures and will focus on densification (which means adding additional cell sites in a geographic area to improve coverage and capacity), optimization, and filling in gaps instead of expanding to new markets. Ergen also says that later this year it will start marketing its Boost Infinite service that offers unlimited data, including 5G, for $25 per month forever (add up to five lines per account). Before that happens, the company plans on offering the iPhone soon.

Currently, Boost Infinite sells the following handsets:

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  • Samsung Galaxy A23
  • Motorola Edge+ (2023)
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
  • Samsung Galaxy S23
  • Celero 5G+
  • Celero 5G
  • Moto G 5G
  • Moto G Stylus 5G
  • Motorola Edge+
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Ergen says that Dish has a few more things on its to-do list "and then I think we get to go a bit more on offense. It’s been a little bit frustrating to play defense as long as we have." The executive adds, "I think the market looks at us as half empty, maybe even 90% empty today, right? And I think the truth is that the glass is more than half full, right? We’re building a world-class network. There is not another network as advanced as ours, and it’s up and operating in 50 markets today and working."

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