US O-RAN first as DISH and AWS form 5G-cloud strategic collaboration

Telco and cloud giant claim industry first by using infrastructure and services to build cloud-based, 5G open radio access network that is said to deliver consistent, cost-effective performance from core to the edge

US operator DISH Network has entered into a partnership with cloud provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) to transform how organisations order and consume 5G services or create their own private 5G networks.

Under the strategic collaboration agreement, DISH has selected AWS as its preferred cloud provider and will construct its growing 5G network on the cloud platform. It will use AWS Outposts and AWS Local Zones to build its network in the cloud, enabling customers to apply the breadth and depth of cloud capabilities to develop low-latency 5G applications and services for a range of industries.

DISH says this will be the first time a 5G network will be run in the cloud, adding that it will achieve agile and cost-effective operations while seeking to redefine the practical applications of 5G. As DISH deploys its network, it is partnering exclusively with suppliers offering cloud-native technology, bringing them together on AWS to give DISH customers greater flexibility and control of their 5G-enabled systems.

The first stage of the relationship will see DISH deploy the first standalone, cloud-based 5G open radio access network (O-RAN) in the US, beginning with Las Vegas later this year. DISH will connect its full hardware and network management resources through the AWS cloud platform to enable what is says will be secure, rapid scaling and innovation, as well as on-demand responsiveness to customers’ wireless needs.

The telco will also use the AWS infrastructure and services to deploy a cloud-native 5G network that incorporates O-RAN in the antennas and base stations and the 5G core. AWS will also power DISH’s fully automated operation and business support systems (OSS and BSS), enabling the company to provision and operate its customers’ 5G workloads and monetise its network.

DISH will also use AWS to tailor performance for individual customer use cases on demand by optimising network attributes such as transmission speed or network availability through network slicing. It also says it will tap into AWS’s roster of telecommunications partners, as well as AWS Professional Services, to automate deployment of 5G network slices and deliver results at “unparalleled” speeds.

By running on AWS, DISH says the 5G network will also significantly outpace legacy networks in the speed with which it can facilitate hardware and software upgrades.

By building its network on AWS, DISH says it is also simplifying the process for developers to create new 5G applications. Developers and customers, as well as the AWS developer community, will be able to create 5G systems using standardised application programming interfaces (APIs) to engage with data on DISH network attributes such as user equipment latency, bit rate, quality of service and equipment location.

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Developers will then be able to use AWS services and partner capabilities in machine learning, analytics, security and more to create responsive systems that use that data. In a potential use case, DISH suggest developers could offer low-latency, augmented reality gaming experiences optimised for the user’s device, serve contextual advertising, or orchestrate the movements of a robot at a disaster site.

“Through this collaboration with AWS, we will operate not just as a communications services provider, but as a digital services provider harnessing the combined power of 5G connectivity and the cloud,” said Charlie Ergen, DISH Network co-founder and chairman. “Together, we will enable our customers to take full advantage of the potential of 5G. Our approach will revolutionise wireless connectivity by giving customers the ability to customise and scale their network experience on-demand.

“As a new carrier, leveraging AWS and its extensive network of partners enables us to differentiate ourselves by operating our 5G network with a high degree of automation, utilising the talent of AWS-trained developers and helping our customers bring new 5G applications to market faster than ever before.”

AWS CEO Andy Jassy added: “DISH’s cloud-native and truly virtualised 5G network is a clear example of how AWS customers can use our proven infrastructure and unparalleled portfolio of services to reinvent industries.

“This collaboration means DISH and its customers can bring new consumer- and enterprise-centric services to the market as quickly as they are created to deliver on the promise of 5G. Together, we are opening the door to new technologies that will transform factories, workplaces, entertainment and transportation in ways people have only dreamed.”

Danielle Royston, CEO and founder of public cloud transformation specialist Telco DR, commented: “The public cloud is not just a place for telecoms providers to park their applications. It’s an opportunity to completely rethink their IT and network deployment model, top to bottom. Telecoms providers can refactor it so that it’s easier to manage, have leaner code and, better yet, be primed to take advantage of new technologies.

“This news proves that telcos can do way more on the public cloud than many people think. It’s not just the BSS, it’s the entire network: RAN and core. If you’re still deploying on-premise, your five-year capex decision is doomed to be a write-off the day you make it.”

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