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Dish Wireless president Swieringa discusses the firm’s shiny new 5G service


About a week and a half ago, Dish Wireless met the FCC’s requirement that Dish cover 20% of the U.S. wireless market with its new 5G service. On June 14th, Dish flipped the switch turning on its 5G network delivering faster data speeds in over 120 U.S. markets. The FCC gave Dish this task when it agreed that the satellite television content provider could take on the challenge of becoming the nation’s “fourth nationwide facilities-based network competitor” replacing Sprint which was being purchased by T-Mobile.

Dish Wireless meets the FCC’s demand to cover 20% of the country with its 5G signals by June

The FCC feared that by reducing the number of major U.S. carriers to three from four, customers of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile would end up paying more for wireless service. But Dish agreed to step in after agreeing to purchase Sprint’s pre-paid operations including Boost Mobile. While so far Dish has seen the number of its subscribers decline from the 9.3 million it inherited in the deal with Sprint to 8.2 million, it is way too early to say that this plan has been a failure.

Dish has another task in front of it courtesy of the FCC. By June 2023, it must cover 70% of the U.S. with 5G or be forced to make a “voluntary contribution” to the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $2.2 billion. Dish Wireless President and COO John Swieringa spoke with Fierce Wireless and displayed confidence about meeting this goal. The executive also revealed how Dish plans on meeting this hurdle when he said, “We’re focusing now on building out the coasts to achieve 70%.”
Swieringa is in charge of the deployment of 5G at Dish and is also the top man on the totem pole when it comes to Dish Wireless’ retail business. His marketing plan is simple and straightforward as he plans to put “one step in front of the other.”

Sure, that is a good way to focus on getting things done without stressing out on the actual things that must be achieved to reach the finish line. Swieringa adds “The thing I’m most focused on is working to deploy the network in a way that we can quickly move into monetizing our investments. This is the year we start to unleash that value. We’re moving from being an MVNO and a large technology project to a fully-integrated business.”

Translated, the executive says that this year Dish will stop buying wireless services from AT&T and T-Mobile and selling that to the public. This will be the year that Dish Wireless starts offering 5G wireless service from its own network. To bulk up for this tough task, Dish Wireless has hired 1,600 more employees and is recruiting to find another 500 people. Most of the additional headcount will be found working in marketing, sales, and product management.

Swieringa was a little coy when asked about Dish Wireless’ exact plans to get the word out about its 5G service. “I’d prefer not to telegraph our strategy,” he said. And in a very competitive business like this one, you can’t fault him for keeping marketing and sales info on the down-low.

Boost will launch its first postpaid service during the fourth quarter

Exciting times are ahead for Dish Wireless. During the fourth quarter, which begins in October, the company will launch Boost Mobile’s first postpaid service called Boost Infinite. Currently, Boost remains a pre-paid provider as it has been from the beginning.

Anyone who doesn’t believe that Dish can become a force to be reckoned with should remember T-Mobile’s amazing climb from being the last place wireless firm to its current position as number two. Along the way, it became the most innovative wireless carrier in the states. If Dish wants a template to follow, there is no better one to study than T-Mobile’s. Of course, the latter had John Legere running the show.

On June 15th, Dish opened its website allowing consumers to subscribe to its 5G service. At first, there were some glitches as pointed out by Swieringa who said, “We started to turn up the site ahead of our full announcement. Some users accessing the site ahead of time had varying experiences as we made all our markets available. We’re happy where the site is now and how it’s performing.”

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