Ahead of next year's expected deployments of 5G, Dish Network announced fiber agreements on Monday with Everstream, Segra, Uniti and Zayo.
Those four fiber partnerships will provide fronthaul and backhaul support for Dish's 5G network to sites covering approximately 60 million U.S. citizens. According to a story by FierceWireless, Dish expects to have some small preliminary 5G markets live in the first quarter of next year before having its first major 5G market deployment by the third quarter of 2021.
The agreements with the four fiber companies will give Dish access to fiber coast-to-coast to connect to markets with its cloud-native, Open RAN based 5G network. While Dish didn't mention cable service providers in Monday's release, cable operators, such as Comcast and Charter, are getting into the 5G game by providing fiber-based backhaul and fronthaul services.
"The fiber agreements with Everstream, Segra, Uniti and Zayo are critical to helping Dish build our 5G network more quickly and cost-effectively than legacy deployments," said Jeff McSchooler, Dish's executive vice president of wireless network operations, in a statement. "Today's announcement marks an important milestone in Dish's deployment process, adding to our strong roster of industry-leading tower, radio, software and now fiber vendors."
Uniti Fiber, Zayo, Everstream and Segra were named to Vertical System Group's Leaderboard or Challenge tiers for fiber-lit buildings in the U.S. earlier this year.
Earlier this month, Everstream added both metro and long-haul fiber assets to its portfolio thanks to a $135 million deal with Uniti. Everstream and Uniti announced a definitive agreement that extended Everstream's reach into Pennsylvania while also acquiring existing Uniti customers. The deal allowed Everstream to add more than 5,600 route miles to its network, which increased its size by more than 35%.
Uniti's Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets, which include dense fiber deployments, were part of the transaction, and will be connected to Everstream’s fibers networks in other cities across the Midwest, including Chicago.
In March, Zayo became a private company again after it was bought by affiliates of Digital Colony and EQT for $14.3 billion.