Dish Offers Its Services to Military's Proposed 5G Network Project

The telecom industry turned out in force to oppose a recent Pentagon proposal to build a shared fifth-generation wireless network, with a familiar pot-stirrer making an exception: Dish Network Corp.
The satellite-TV company last week submitted a list of suggestions for the Department of Defense, which is exploring 5G technology for its own operations. The Colorado company said its under-construction cellular network could meet many of the criteria that the military is considering while also serving private-sector interests.
“There is a precedent for how the DoD can take advantage of shared physical assets and network resources, while maintaining operational control and flexibility to support the DoD’s objectives,” Dish wrote in its filing, citing satellites that handle commercial and military clients and the FirstNet public-safety network run by AT&T Inc.
It is unclear how receptive the military will be to the scenarios outlined by Dish, which is controlled by billionaire co-founder Charlie Ergen. The Defense Department issued a request for information in September, a first step toward soliciting bids from contractors.
The request dangled a prize far more valuable than a standard defense contract: access to up to 450 megahertz of radio frequencies currently used for military radar systems. Telecom-industry analysts say exclusive rights to such a wide swath of frequencies would fetch tens of billions of dollars if they were sold on the open market.
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