Dish Network co-founder and Chairman Charles Ergen have always wanted to run a wireless carrier. That is why Dish has been, in the words of one of our loyal readers, a "spectrum squatter" (love that term!). In fact, in that famous 2017 FCC auction of low-band spectrum which resulted in T-Mobile spending nearly $8 billion to win 31Mhz of 600Mhz spectrum, Dish also shelled out $6.2 billion for 486 licenses.
Dish hopes to have its own stand-alone 5G network running in over 100 cities by June, and the FCC might have given away the names of the first two phones that will support Dish's 5G signals over Band 70 and 26 (more on that below). As described by PhoneScoop, Band 70 is unusual in that the bandwidth for downlink is larger than for uplink. The former runs 1,995 – 2,020 MHz and consists of H block and AWS-4, while the uplink spans 1,695 – 1,710 MHz which includes AWS-3.
Dish faces a deadline to cover 70% of the country with its 5G by June 2023
As we mentioned late last month, Dish does have a deadline imposed by the FCC and must cover 20% of the country with its 5G signals by the middle of June 2022. By the middle of June 2023, 70% of the U.S. must be able to connect to Dish's 5G airwaves. This will be confirmed by drive tests. Dish is on the hook for potentially billions of dollars in "voluntary contributions" to the U.S. Treasury if it fails to meet the 2023 deadline.
Now back to the FCC where the U.S. regulatory agency signed off on two new phones with the model numbers XT2213 and XT2215. Those model numbers certainly have a Motorola-ish sound to them and PCMag reports that the XT2215-1 has been mentioned on a Chinese forum as a model heading to AT&T MVNO Cricket Wireless. An MVNO or Mobile Virtual Network Operator is a firm that doesn't have its own network but uses one owned by another firm (in this case, AT&T) to do business.
Dish Wireless currently uses bands 26, 29, 48, 66, 70, 71, and 77. Amid this locker combination of numbers, bands 26 and 70 will be exclusive to Dish Wireless' mobile traffic. Band 29 belongs to AT&T, 71 is used by T-Mobile (which makes sense in light of Dish's MVNO agreements with both carriers) and the remaining bands are employed by other multiple carriers.
Band 70 was designed specifically for Dish, but band 26 was once used by Nextel and Dish agreed to buy the spectrum as part of the $26 billion T-Mobile acquisition of Sprint. Dish has yet to close on the purchase of those airwaves. Neither band has been spotted yet on any phone outside of the upcoming Motorola models. The pair will make calls on 5G only since Dish is not going to use any 4G networking gear once its 5G network is finished.
Band 70 will be exclusive to Dish for its 5G wireless traffic
Currently, the only phone made for Dish is the Celero 5G, but it does not work with bands 26 or 70. The phone features a 6.5-inch display, four cameras, 36 hours of battery life, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of storage. It is available from Boost Mobile which happens to be owned by Dish Network, and at $139,99, it is half-off the retail price.
Dish Wireless is being counted on to keep the competitive balance the same in the U.S. with four major wireless providers now that Sprint has been swallowed up by T-Mobile. Still, you can see from the Celero 5G and the two aforementioned Motorola phones (that are supposedly headed to Cricket), that Dish will be offering low-priced handsets instead of flagships. That's because the bulk of its customers come from Boost Mobile which is a pre-paid wireless provider.
Pre-paid customers are more apt to save money by purchasing low-priced handsets rather than spend a ransom on high-priced flagship models.