Dish's spectrum holdings are more than large enough to sustain a national NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) network and then some, wireless coverage company Mosaik Solutions said earlier this week, as first reported by FierceWireless. Following an analysis of aggregate spectrum holdings in the United States, the Memphis, Tennessee-based firm deemed Dish's portfolio "a very loaded gun" that's more than prepared for nationwide deployment with additional resources to spare. Whereas the capacity isn't an issue, the variety of related products and services a national NB-IoT network would spawn following 5G deployment might be as it remains to be seen how consumers will react to them, i.e. whether such an endeavor would be profitable, Mosaik Global Sales and Marketing VP Andrew Miceli said.
The two maps authored by Mosaik that can be seen below illustrate Dish's spectrum holdings, as well as those of T-Mobile which are meant to serve for reference as both companies spent significant sums on acquiring 600MHz spectrum at the latest wireless auction held by the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year. Dish has been particularly active in the auction, having ultimately invested $6.2 billion in new spectrum holdings, a figure that dwarfed most estimates and was largely fueled by the company's growing IoT ambitions. Dish's NB-IoT buildout will continue with contracts with tower companies in early 2018, whereas the firm already reached a supply agreement with an unspecified telecom equipment supplier, as per its previous statement.
As a next-generation technology, NB-IoT is widely considered to be a major step toward the fifth generation of mobile networks and one that would allow for entirely new product categories in the Internet of Things segment. Telecom giants in the U.S. are presently planning NB-IoT rollouts in addition to LTE M ones, with most of them being keen on opting for a combination of both, depending on use cases in specific scenarios. While LTE M supports voice calls and uses already active LTE bands, NB-IoT is generally viewed as a more affordable option due to its low maintenance costs which offset more expensive deployment. Much like its name suggests, NB-IoT was specifically designed for IoT applications and entirely circumvents getaways, leaving no such relays between a main server and sensors of a device communicating with it. Such straightforward approach to IoT connectivity already appealed to numerous tech giants and wireless carriers, many of whom are now pushing for global commercialization of the technology. Additional deployments in the U.S. are expected to start as early as next year.