Dish Network as systems integrator; will use Rakuten Symphony’s observability framework in its 5G network
In a press release today, Dish Network said it would use Rakuten Symphony’s observability framework (OBF) in its planned yet delayed 5G network. The company said it would use the Japanese upstart’s technology to collect telemetry data from its network functions in order to support the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to make its operations more efficient.
Dish is adding Rakuten Symphony to its roster of modern telco infrastructure vendors that support Open RAN and cloud-native technologies as a provider of Operational Support Systems (OSS) services. Together, Dish’s roster of OSS vendors will aggregate service assurance, monitoring, customer experience and automation through a singular platform on the DISH 5G network.
The OBF will bring even greater visibility into the performance and operations of the network’s cloud-native functions with near real-time results. This collected data will be used to optimize networks through its Closed Loop Automation module, which executes procedures to provide automatic scaling and healing while minimizing manual work and reducing errors.
The agreement strengthens the operability of Dish’s cloud-native, Open RAN 5G network and lays the foundation for further collaboration in advancing OpenRAN and cloud-native network technologies. As noted previously, Dish’s cloud native 5G core network will be implemented by Amazon AWS
Rakuten Symphony – a new, independent division of the Japanese Internet company Rakuten developed specifically to sell open RAN technologies globally – joins a growing list of Dish 5G vendors that seems to expand almost every week.
Among those tools and services are service assurance solutions that were developed based on Rakuten’s experience in the Japanese market. Rakuten Symphony CEO Tareq Amin has described Japanese consumers as “quality-obsessed” and shared anecdotal stories about customers who experience a dropped call or otherwise sub-optimal network experience sharing their stories far and wide on social media. This led to the development of new service assurance tools that went from generalized customer experience measures to drilling down to “accurate empirical data” at an individual subscriber level. Amin also told RCR Wireless News that Rakuten Symphony’s goal is to be a “platform partner” rather than a vendor.
“We had gotten a lot of inquiries about the applicability of this approach to the U.S. market. So, we decided to expand in the U.S. I have formally started a few weeks ago,” Azita Arvani, GM of Rakuten Mobile Americas, told Light Reading in early 2020. The interest is mutual as Dish chairman Charlie Ergen said in February, “Rakuten is important in the sense that we’ve learned a lot from them.”
Recently, Dish said it would use Cisco for routing, IBM for automation, Spirent for testing and Equinix for interconnections – announcements noteworthy considering Dish is mere weeks from its first market launch. The ability to automatically, virtually and in parallel test new 5G Standalone services, slices and software updates in the cloud is key to Dish Network’s network strategy and its differentiation, according to Marc Rouanne, Dish EVP and chief network officer for its wireless business. Rouanne said that the ability to rapidly test and certify network software and services has been part of Dish’s vision for its network.
Dish announced more than a year ago that it would use radio management software from both Mavenir and Altiostar, when Rakuten was a major investor in Altiostar [Note 1.]
–>So it seams that Dish Network’s 5G role will be that of a systems integrator, putting together the many outsourced parts of its 5G greenfield network. It remains to be seen what combination of vendors will supply the Open RAN portion of the 5G network and what development, if any, Dish’s engineers will do for it. And how will Dish’s 5G SA core network via AWS interface with those Open RAN vendors?
Note 1. Rakuten purchased Altiostar outright in August 2021 in a deal worth more than $1 billion. Rakuten’s purchase of Altiostar is part of the company’s broader effort to leverage its Japanese mobile network into a global business selling software, hardware and services to other network operators. The offering was initially dubbed Rakuten Mobile Platform (RMP), and then Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP), but the company in August named it Symphony and said the operation targeted an addressable market of up to $100 billion.
While our colleague Craig Moffett of Moffett-Nathanson is highly skeptical, some analysts are optimistic about Dish’s 5G prospects. “We have been bullish on Dish on the view that they would have a lower cost for capacity than the incumbents,” wrote the financial analysts at New Street Research in a note to investors this week. We argued that Dish would be worth over $100 / share if they sold their capacity at prices below Verizon’s cost. If correct, this sets up an exciting opportunity for disruption.”
DISH Network Corporation is a connectivity company. Since 1980, it has served as a disruptive force, driving innovation and value on behalf of consumers. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides television entertainment and award-winning technology to millions of customers with its satellite DISH TV and streaming SLING TV services. In 2020, the company became a nationwide U.S. wireless carrier through the acquisition of Boost Mobile. DISH continues to innovate in wireless, building the nation’s first virtualized, O-RAN 5G broadband network. DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) is a Fortune 200 company.
For company information, visit about.dish.com.
About Rakuten Symphony:
Rakuten Symphony, a Rakuten Group organization with operations across Japan, Singapore, India, EMEA, and the United States, develops and brings to the global marketplace cloud-native, open RAN telco infrastructure platforms, services and solutions.
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Hughes Network Systems announced the award of an $18 million contract from the Department of Defense (DoD) to deploy a standalone 5G network at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state. The Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) was issued through the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) consortium, a collaboration to engage industry and academia to develop and mature technologies in the field of information warfare that enhance Navy and Marine Corps mission effectiveness. Hughes will serve as the prime contractor connecting the base with a secure 5G network to support operations, maintenance and flight traffic management. The Hughes 5G network will utilize spectrum from DISH Wireless, the only carrier capable of providing the right combination of low band, mid band, and high band (mmWave) spectrum. This work is part of on-going DoD 5G experimentation led by the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
“Over the course of this three-year project, we will demonstrate for the U.S. Department of Defense how 5G infrastructure from Hughes – including a packet processing core, radio access, edge cloud, security and network management – can power the resilient networking necessary to transform base operations,” said Dr. Rajeev Gopal, vice president, Advanced Programs, Hughes. “Today’s walkie-talkies, paper-trails and telephone conversations will be replaced with a private, secure 5G network over which air station processes and systems will be automated and continuously optimized. What’s more, the standalone, standards-based configuration – including O-RAN standards for flexibility – will connect seamlessly anywhere on the planet using Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellite connectivity.”
“DISH is delivering the connectivity for this private 5G network, providing engineering services, support and access to our spectrum portfolio,” said Stephen Bye, chief commercial officer, DISH. “As we build our own network, we’re proud to team with Hughes in this important project to deliver a fast, secure, reliable network to serve the U.S. Department of Defense and support mission-critical functions.”
“This award is a testament to Hughes leadership in engineering and managing smart networks that enable the military to exchange information with the right people at the right time with an any-network approach that’s hardware agnostic and transport independent,” said Rick Lober, vice president and general manager, Hughes Defense. “We look forward to showcasing our capabilities in secure management of a 5G stand-alone deployment with advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning for ongoing enhancement and increasing efficiencies.”
The deployment, which began in September 2021, leverages Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) and meets National Security Administration (NSA) Commercial Solution for Classified (CSFC) requirements. Working together on the project, with Hughes as the integrator, are: Boingo Wireless, Cisco, Dell, DISH, JMA Wireless and Intel.
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