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Dish says it met its FCC deadline to cover 70 percent of the US population

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The company has deployed over 15,000 5G sites and satisfied its June 2023 requirements to the FCC. But it still looks like it’s a long ways from being a true fourth wireless carrier.

Illustration of the Dish logo with a white and red background.

We did it, says Dish.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

According to Dish Network, things at Dish are going great. Yesterday marked its second FCC coverage deadline since it bought Boost from T-Mobile, and the company issued a press release today stating that it now covers 70 percent of the US population and has “also satisfied all other June 14, 2023 FCC commitments.” It’s not exactly mission accomplished just yet, though.

In meeting this FCC milestone, Dish says it has deployed over 15,000 5G cell sites and would like to remind us that it’s still the first wireless provider in the country to launch voice calling over 5G, known as VoNR — Voice over New Radio.

This is all well and good, but Dish’s wireless service still doesn’t look quite the same as AT&T’s or Verizon’s. The network itself is very much still in beta testing under its Project Genesis program, which requires you to purchase a new phone specially equipped to use new network features like three-carrier aggregation. The network is available to Boost customers in supported markets, but they need to use a phone that supports band 70 to access Dish’s 5G — and those are still uncommon.

Dish has had its share of setbacks getting to this goal, too. There was that cyberattack that took down the company’s support systems in February. The company’s chief commercial officer, who was charged with turning its 5G network into a profitable business, stepped down in January.

There’s also another big FCC deadline looming on the horizon: it needs to cover 75 percent of the areas where it holds spectrum licenses by June 2025. That’s going to be expensive, and there’s some speculation that Dish will ask for more time to meet that requirement. In the meantime, we’re still down to three wireless carriers who are scheming up clever ways to charge us more money.

 

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