With the clock ticking down toward its deployment goal this fall, Dish Network has launched a website with more information on its forthcoming 5G network. There’s not much to the site — just a slightly cryptic name (Project Gene5is) and a link to sign up for a notification when the service is available in your area. Its appearance was first reported by Axios, and there’s no mention of it or the Project Gene5is name on Dish’s main wireless network page. Still, it’s an indication that Dish is moving in the right direction toward a network launch, which it needs to do if it’s going to hit its ambitious targets.
Dish has promised to bring its under-development 5G network to life later this summer starting with Las Vegas. That’s just the first stepping stone toward its larger goal of covering 70 percent of the US population by June 2023. This would put Dish in position as the country’s missing fourth wireless carrier, and setting the company up to be that fourth carrier was a condition of the T-Mobile / Sprint acquisition.
Things haven’t exactly gone smoothly for Dish since then. The company is in the middle of a dispute with T-Mobile over its impending CDMA network shutdown, which is scheduled for January 1st, 2022. Dish argues that this is much sooner than it had anticipated, and a significant number of its Boost Mobile customers — acquired as part of the Sprint merger deal — could lose service entirely as a result. This might be an unwelcome distraction for Dish, but on an investor call earlier this year, chairman Charlie Ergen was as bullish as ever on the company’s ability to get a brand-new network off the ground — in his words: “This isn’t our first rodeo.”