Dish Network recently hired a longtime AT&T veteran as its new director of in-building systems. The move likely reflects the company's interest in constructing 5G operations indoors as well as outside.
"Abid Khan has joined the Dish Network team as director, in-building systems," Dish CEO W. Erik Carlson wrote in a recent post to LinkedIn. "He's leading teams responsible for supporting our business and enterprise customers. It's great to have you onboard, Abid!"
According to Khan's own LinkedIn profile, he has worked at wireless network operators including T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T. His most recent position at AT&T was as wireless engineering manager of Edge Cloud & Mobility Networks, where his duties included directing "indoor wireless connectivity solutions."
A Dish representative did not respond to questions from Light Reading about Dish's potential plans for indoor wireless networks.
Nonetheless, Khan joins a large and growing network team that Dish has been assembling during the past few months. Importantly, that team appears to be shifting from the 5G planning stage and into the deployment stage, given recent indications that Dish is beginning to physically install its 5G radios atop cell towers around the country.
Many expect Dish to initially focus on broad outdoor network coverage, considering the company is to cover 20% of the US population by June 2022 with 5G, and 70% by June 2023, due to its 2019 agreement with the US Department of Justice.
However, one of Dish's primary 5G strategies involves selling mobility services to enterprises – and plenty of business customers conduct their activities inside. Thus, it makes sense that Dish may need executives with experience and expertise in designing networks that can function inside large corporate campuses or skyscrapers where signals from outdoor towers may not reach.
Of course, a focus on indoor wireless networks is nothing new, including for 5G. For example, Verizon Business and Corning recently announced they have begun commercial installations of in-building 5G cell sites for enterprise customers.
Moreover, the business models surrounding such installations may also be changing. For example, tower company Crown Castle recently announced it built a wireless network inside a New York City skyscraper that it owns and operates.
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