Nascent US MNO Dish is the latest telecoms company to go all-in on the public cloud, entrusting Amazon Web Services to handle its entire 5G network.

Scott Bicheno

April 22, 2021

3 Min Read
Dish gambles on Faustian pact with AWS
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Nascent US MNO Dish is the latest telecoms company to go all-in on the public cloud, entrusting Amazon Web Services to handle its entire 5G network.

This arrangement would appear to take the telecoms/public cloud dynamic to a new level, with everything to do with the Dish 5G network, including the non-hardware components of its OpenRAN radios, sitting on an AWS server. Symbolically they’re going to celebrate this unprecedented gamble by launching the Dish mobile network in Las Vegas.

“Through this collaboration with AWS, we will operate not just as a communications services provider, but as a digital services provider harnessing the combined power of 5G connectivity and the cloud,” said Charlie Ergen, Dish co-founder and Chairman. “Together, we will enable our customers to take full advantage of the potential of 5G. Our approach will revolutionize wireless connectivity by giving customers the ability to customize and scale their network experience on-demand.

“As a new carrier, leveraging AWS and its extensive network of partners enables us to differentiate ourselves by operating our 5G network with a high degree of automation, utilizing the talent of AWS-trained developers and helping our customers bring new 5G applications to market faster than ever before.”

“Dish’s cloud-native and truly virtualized 5G network is a clear example of how AWS customers can use our proven infrastructure and unparalleled portfolio of services to reinvent industries,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. “This collaboration means Dish and its customers can bring new consumer- and enterprise-centric services to the market as quickly as they’re created to deliver on the promise of 5G. Together, we’re opening the door to new technologies that will transform factories, workplaces, entertainment, and transportation in ways people have only dreamed.”

Copy the above quotes and paste them 400 times, and you have the rest of the remarkably tedious press release, which manages to labour the point to an impressive degree. Public cloud staples like ‘agility’, ‘scalable’ and the ubiquitous ‘leverage’ litter the announcement, with Dish apparently desperate to justify relinquishing control of its network to a third party.

An interesting angle not covered in the release, but teased out of Ergen by the FT, is how important Dish apparently considers pleasing the US government to be. “It gives the US a chance to get back into a leadership position in telecoms,” he told the FT. “The best cloud providers in the world are in the US. Nobody writes better software than the US. And now with Open RAN we are able to use American suppliers for radio.”

So not only is this about agility and capex savings, its also patriotic. Ergen actually said “This is not our first rodeo,” in reference to this heavy commitment to the public cloud, for which we commend him. With all this talk of getting the US back (?) to a telecoms leadership position, you have to wonder whether its government is actively incentivising Dish in this direction. Before it gets too carried away with the national solidarity narrative, though, Dish may want to consider that Parler is also a US company.

About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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