Dish picks Matrixx Software with eye on dynamic 5G pricing

Dish is eyeing 5G monetization with dynamic pricing. Today the company announced that Matrixx Software will supply its converged charging system for Dish’s forthcoming 5G network.

When it comes to packaging and monetizing new wireless services Dish said converged billing will play a critical role. The company called out dynamic pricing for network slices.

Network slicing is a technology sometimes seen as a key for monetizing 5G services because portions or “slices” of the network could be partitioned by operators with resources allocated for particular usage or application requirements.

“Matrixx’s solution will help unlock the intrinsic value of our 5G network by scaling on demand and enabling dynamic pricing for network slices and other services," said Atilla Tinic, chief information officer at Dish, in a statement. “We are proud to have a partner with the proven ability to deliver a modern CCS solution for 5G that will give us the commercial and operational agility to constantly iterate our offerings and grow our wireless business.”

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Dish is pursuing a greenfield build of a standalone (SA) 5G network with an open RAN architecture. It expects to have at least one market live with 5G this year. Matrixx’s software will be able to work within the multi-vendor ecosystem with functionality that offers interoperability with Dish’s network functions, according to the announcement.

Notably, the company said Matrixx billing software, coupled with Dish’s focus on AI and automation, will be able to determine network availability and usage “dynamically changing prices throughout the day.” Additional details weren’t disclosed, and a Dish spokesperson said via email that the company doesn't have anything to share on pricing at this time.    

So far major carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon aren’t charging extra for access to 5G services. Verizon had put a $10 premium on unlimited plans with 5G, but had been waiving the charge as a bill credit.

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An announcement this week about Disney entertainment additions didn't mention Verizon’s $10 fee. It said access to Verizon’s nationwide 5G network coming later this year will be included for all new Mix & Match wireless plans. Meanwhile, its 5G Ultra Wideband millimeter wave service is included all plans except for Verizon’s lowest tier unlimited plan.  

Dish’s release noted that price updates will be automated through Matrixx’s cloud-native, continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline.

In the future, Matrixx will provide flexibility for Dish "to price and bill in a way that will meet the complex demands of our enterprise customers," the Dish spokesperson said. Services enabled through network slicing is only one of the ways in which Dish plans to monetize its 5G network, the spokesperson noted, with slices that can meet a customer's specific service level requirements "ranging from service performance to control functions." 

"MATRIXX will help us ensure we charge customers based on their services and not simply on unlimited or family plans," she added, pointing for example, to differing latency requirements of an agricultural company tracking assets versus needs of a healthcare practice performing remote surgeries. 

"As enterprises and wholesalers leverage control functions via Network as a Service (NaaS),  MATRIXX will provide the real time rating, billing and visibility needed to manage network services," the spokesperson said. 

“With our unique platform, Matrixx will provide Dish with a powerful competitive advantage in both the offerings they bring to market and the superior experience they deliver to their customers,” said Glo Gordon, CEO of Matrixx Software, in a statement. “Our mission is to provide the industry’s premier 5G charging platform that gives service providers the operational agility to automate and hyper-scale offerings at web-speed.”

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Dish already has named a trio of vendors to help build its network, tapping more non-traditional suppliers including Altiostar, Fujitsu, and Mavenir. VMware is providing its telco cloud platform. Dish recently tapped Tucows’ Mobile Enablement Services for the newly acquired wireless retail business. It also scooped up most Ting Mobile customers as part of that agreement.

Dish already took on around 9 million subscribers after closing its $1.4 billion deal for the Boost Mobile prepaid business from T-Mobile on July 1. Those customers will initially ride on T-Mobile’s network under a 7-year MVNO agreement. Under commitments to the FCC, Dish’s own 5G services are supposed to cover 70% of the U.S. population by June 2023.  

Article updated with comments from Dish spokesperson.