Dish taps IBM for 5G automation, orchestration software

Dish Network plans to use IBM automation and network orchestration software in its forthcoming 5G network.

IBM Global Business Services is providing multi-vendor implementation and integration of the BSS (business support systems) functions to enhance customer sales and service experience.

Dish is tapping IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation software for 5G network operations - which in part will also help Dish enable tailored network slices for customers and businesses.

“Our 5G build is unique in that we are truly creating a ‘network of networks,’ where each enterprise can custom-tailor a network slice or group of slices to achieve their specific business needs. IBM’s orchestration solutions are designed to leverage AI, automation and machine learning to not only make these slices possible, but to help them adapt over time as customer use evolves,” said Marc Rouanne, chief network officer at Dish Wireless, in a statement.

RELATED: Marek’s Take: Dish's Mayo says company is committed to 5G

Dish is building out a greenfield 5G wireless network in the U.S., using a cloud-native and virtualized open RAN approach. The first beta market is slated to go live in Las Vegas in the fourth quarter (later than the original target), with initial commercial service expected in early 2022.

The IBM automation software is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) for intent-driven network orchestration capabilities that optimize network operations and performance, according to Steve Canepa, managing director IBM global Communications sector.

“As a result, DISH can accelerate time to market for new innovative services powered by a secured, automated, intelligent and agile 5G network,” Canepa said in a statement.

RELATED: Dish breaks ground for first 5G site in Orlando

According to Dish the orchestration software is created to continually learn, deliver insights and analyze financial impact to prioritize and manage issue resolution and network function.

Dish needs to meet FCC spectrum buildout deadlines, including covering 70% of the U.S. population with 5G by mid-2023. Dish quietly started taking signups for the 5G network in June and construction has started in multiple locations.

RELATED: Oracle to give Dish 5G core network slicing assist

With a roster of vendors and partners already lined up, network slicing is one capability Dish continues to call out as a differentiator for the standalone (SA) 5G network that will run on the AWS cloud. Nokia is providing containerized SA 5G core and security services for network slices aimed at enterprise and wholesales customers.

Oracle is another vendor, supplying control plane network functions to help create and manage service-specific network slices. Network slicing is touted as one way to help create new revenue for operators and monetize new 5G networks.