DISH Network has requested permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to utilise unused spectrum in the 600MHz band in Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada, as it seeks to stage a pair of 5G trials. Both spectrum blocks are currently held by Bluewater Wireless II, a subsidiary of Rhode Island-based Bluewater Management Company; the latter has already agreed to let DISH use the frequencies. DISH is seeking a 90-day Special Temporary Authority (STA) from the FCC and intends to conclude its testing no later than 31 December 2021.
Through its affiliate, ParkerB.com Wireless, DISH already holds 600MHz spectrum in all 416 Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) in the US but needs additional spectrum in order to trial a carrier aggregation (CA)-based solution. The company notes: ‘DISH is unable to adequately test CA using only its own licensed spectrum due to insufficient bandwidth in the two test markets and because the contemplated CA tests require non-contiguous 600MHz spectrum blocks.’
TeleGeography notes that DISH has previously stated its intention to commence consumer beta testing of its planned 5G network in Las Vegas in 4Q21. As per FCC documentation, DISH has promised to deploy a 5G core network and infrastructure covering 20% of the population by 14 June 2022. Coverage must be increased to 15,000 cell sites and 70% of the US population by June 2023.