Dish Spent $20 Billion on 5G Spectrum (And AV Integrators Should Pay Attention)

Published: 2017-11-03

Satellite service provider Dish Network has quietly (or not so quietly) spent $20 billion purchasing large chunks of the licensed cellular network spectrum. Indeed, Dish now owns more of the low-, mid- and high-band licensed spectrum than any of the major mobile carriers from Verizon to AT&T to T-Mobile.

Those purchases have set Dish up to a major player in forthcoming 5G cellular network that could change the way AV integrators design and install everything from home networks to multiroom video systems and much more.

Speaking as the keynoter at the Total Tech Summit / CI Summit in Orlando, Dish Network CTO Vivik Khemka painted a picture of the future of the Internet of Things with AV integrators smack dab in the middle of the fray.

“You think technology adoption is phenomenal today, it is nothing compared to what is coming,” says Khemka.  “In the next five years, there will be 200 billion devices connected to the IoT, more than 10x the number of devices connected today.”

“This new era of hyper-connected devices is going to disrupt a lot of industries,” he adds. But all that connectivity will create a very big problem. “We are already reaching a state of network congestion,” he notes.

The answer? More spectrum availability, especially for 5G cellular communications. “It all comes down to spectrum,” he says. That is why Dish has spent a $20 billion bankroll on spectrum.[related]

“We are a satellite company, but our desire is to be a connectivity company,” he told the group of nearly 400 AV integrators in attendance at the Orlando event. “We now own low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum that compares to every major carrier. And, it is all greenfield spectrum with no devices currently operating in the space.”

As the 5G spectrum becomes a reality in the next 12 months (following final legislative approvals), Khemka says Dish is positioned to “leapfrog the mobile carriers” to have an immediate impact in the area of wireless data communications.

But, as you might surmise, Dish foresees most of the new 5G network being used not to handle text messages and phone calls, but the transmission of wireless video with amazing speed and virtually no latency.

Khemka predicts 75 percent of all the 5G network will be used to transmit video signals. And, with the 5G network as the basis for communication, several technology-based industries will immediately blossom, including autonomous vehicles, heathcare, security, and industrial manufacturing, according to Khemka.

5G will be able to transmit at 100Mbps speed (that compares to today’s average home network at 18.7 Mbps. It also will have latency of just 1 millisecond (compared to 100ms for 3G and 50ms for 4G).

“It will be a new world where everything is connected with 5G,” says Khemka.

Why Should Integrators Care?

So what does all this mean for integrators?

It opens up a world of options for deploying drones, remote monitoring, smart parking, health monitoring and smart homes.  It also could mean the existing multiroom A/V topology where signals are sent via a broadband Internet pipeline could be totally replaced with point-to-point video signal transmission via 5G spectrum directly to individual devices. At 2017 CES, Sony already showed a prototype security camera that solely uses the cellular network… never touching the web.

Dish already has a device (the Dish Sling) that sends video over the Internet.

“Many of you AV integrators will soon see a huge portion of your revenue from IoT,” predicts Khemka. “Someone needs to design and install all the systems to handle 5G spectrum communications in the home. We want to build partnerships with you so we can shape the network so it best serves you. It starts as the video partners with you.”

This story premiered on our sister publication, CE Pro.

Posted in: Insights, News

Tagged with: Business

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