Today is the day: Dish Network must provide 5G service to at least 20 percent of the US population or the US government will face heavy fines. And lo and behold, Dish looks set to lighten its 5G service in the nick of time — but there’s still a lot in the air.
The company’s website for Project Genesis (that’s what it calls this entire venture) has been updated to say it’s “live in 120 cities” with a link to “order now.” Until recently, the website only listed the 120 initial cities the service would cover outside of the first test market in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it seemed uncertain whether Dish would meet its deadline.
It is not yet entirely clear whether Dish has met the requirements. Dish has yet to officially announce the launch of the service and the company has not responded to our request for more information. If the service doesn’t cover enough of the U.S. population today, Dish risks fines starting at $16 million and increasing for every wireless band not deployed, according to the agreement with the Federal Communications Commission.
Dish chairman Charlie Ergen said in May that the company does not need an extension. “We’re just going to get it done,” he said told investors†
Filling out the site’s form with an address in Spokane, Washington, one of the 120 cities where the service is supported, reveals a splash page that says “Project Genesis is live in your area!” with some additional details. The price of the wireless service plan – $30 per month for unlimited calls, texts and 5G – was announced earlier. There is also a $20 per month data-only hotspot plan. Likewise, if you click through to sign up, you will be prompted to choose between two devices: a Samsung Galaxy S22 or a hotspot.
While it appears to be a true commercial launch, there is still a hint of beta testing about the program. The plan’s basic features also include “exclusive rewards,” including NFTs — something Dish previously said would encourage members to help “fine-tune” his network. The company also promises “fast delivery” and an easy onboarding process, which: the FAQ page of the website turns out to mean UPS ground shipping.
You can go to the Project Genesis website to see if your address qualifies for Dish’s 5G service. If so, let’s hope you like the Galaxy S22 as you can’t bring your own device to the network right now.