Dish Network on Monday disclosed that he had cleared two of its three 5G network buildout obligations with the Federal Communications Commission, with a final one to be completed next year.
The company, which has long hoarded spectrum, was under obligation to build a wireless work using those radio airwave licenses. For the past decade, it did virtually nothing. But the company went into overdrive over the last few years, and in June announced that it had met the FCC benchmark for covering 70% of the population of the US with its 5G network.
The FCC giving its approval to the two benchmarks affirms the legitimacy of Dish’s 5G network. But even as it has a network that covers nearly three-quarters of the country, it continues to struggle to add customers, even to its Boost Mobile service, which it acquired from Sprint shortly before the carrier merged with T-Mobile.
The U.S. government is keen to get Dish moving on a national network because it intended Dish to serve as the fourth national competitor after T-Mobile and Sprint combined. The Federal Trade Commission helped drive the deal, which gave Dish access to Boost and some spectrum from T-Mobile, which it’s in the middle of a dispute over timing.
Dish’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission noted that the final commitment is a vetting of the speeds available on the network. The company is obligated to offer download speeds equal to 35 Mbps, and will use a drive test process that’s been approved by the FCC.
Dish has another requirement in 2025 to cover 75% of the population of the country, which experts say will be much harder because of geographic challenges such as reaching fewer people in more distant areas.