Dish’s Rouanne says AWS 5G deal will let it become a ‘network of networks’

AWS re:Invent LAS VEGAS: Dish Network is naturally planning to serve consumers with its forthcoming standalone 5G network, but its network chief Marc Rouanne hinted the real opportunity for its cloud-based architecture will be in serving the enterprise market.

In May, the operator tapped Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host its 5G RAN and core, betting big on the cloud. Rouanne said during a keynote at AWS’ re:Invent conference that decision will allow it to build a network optimized not just for human but also machine-to-machine communications.

“The result will be a game changer for businesses across the industry and enterprises,” he said.

Rouanne talked up Dish’s plan to build what he called a “network of networks,” where each sub-network is defined by the specific needs of each enterprise.

“Today as a consumer I can design the experience that I want. That is exactly what we are going to do with 5G/4G enterprise and we’re going to do that together with AWS,” he stated. “It’s not just one size fits all like we used to. It will be customizable by speed, latency…and many other features.”

The executive said its network collaboration with AWS will enable it to become more data-centric, boost automation and connect the edge to the cloud in a more simplified way – all of which will benefit the enterprise customers it’s looking to serve.

RELATED: Dish network chief talks 5G service-based architecture

On its cloud-based 5G network, “companies will be able to utilize aggregated and analyzed data to identify patterns and improve [the] customer experience,” Rouanne explained. He added the ability to drive automation at scale using artificial intelligence and machine learning will be critical in helping it manage the highly complex “network of networks” it envisions.

Rouanne noted many enterprises are working to bring services to the edge and said with AWS it’s aiming to make running software at the edge as simple as making a phone call. The whole point, he continued, is to enable “innovation at the speed of the cloud.”

It’s pushing hard to bring its vision to life. Rouanne said it’s already able to create a nationwide network that it can “scale up and down at will, which would have taken years on the classical 4G or 5G network.” He added “We can literally move the software around, north and south, in hours, which again would have taken years in existing networks because it’s tied to tons of hardware.”

“Looking ahead, Dish is going to be the enabler of technology people have not even imagined yet,” Rouanne claimed.

Dish plans to launch a beta 5G service in Las Vegas in the current quarter, with commercial availability due in 2022. Though it delayed the beta launch – which was originally scheduled for Q3 – the company faces hard rollout deadlines set by the Federal Communications Commission. It is required to cover 20% of the U.S. population with 5G by June 2022 and 70% by 2023.