Dish Network has started a website to notify interested potential customers when its new 5G wireless service is coming to their town, another step in its quest to begin offering a “state-of-the-art” 5G wireless offering in Las Vegas in Q3.
A Dish spokesperson confirmed that the Project Gene5is website is the satellite giant’s, but declined to offer more information.
“We'll be communicating to customers as options are available in their area, with Vegas being our first market,” the company said.”
News that the Project Genesis website was available was first reported by Axios.
Whether Project Gene5is will be the name of the new wireless offering remains to be seen, but there could be an obvious attraction to Star Trek fans. Project Genesis -- a device that built habitable worlds out of inhabitable ones, featured prominently in the plots of both Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. There is also a video game named Project Genesis. Whether substituting one “S” with a “5” will be enough to keep the copyright lawyers at bay is best left to Dish’s attorneys.
But for now, it appears that the website is geared to push information to potentially interested customers once service begins to become more widely available. All those email addresses could also help the company gauge interest in the product outside of the initial markets at some point.
After providing a zip code, email address and phone number, the website directs the user to a page that tells them they are on “a list to be an original founder in Project Genesis, the first true 5G network. Check your email for more details soon.”
Dish is in the midst of building out the 5G network using spectrum it acquired from T-Mobile as well as wireless licenses it has purchased over the years. The company has said it will debut its first market -- Las Vegas -- in the third quarter, followed by launches in other markets at later dates.
Dish has weathered a fair amount of criticism surrounding its wireless aspirations and earlier this month JP Morgan media analyst Phil Cusick downgraded his rating on the stock to “underweight” from “neutral,” specifically citing his doubts about the potential success of the wireless offering.
“We can’t find a way but to be skeptical on the Dish story,” Cusick wrote.
Analysts across the board have expressed doubt about Dish’s claims the network will cost just $10 billion to build -- most believe the price tag will be much higher -- and whether it will be able to successfully compete against giants like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile without a partner.
Dish also is under the gun to build the network relatively quickly. Dish has about one year to make the network available to 20% of the country as part of the federal requirements for its wireless spectrum licenses, and to 70% of the country by June 2023, deadlines the company says will be reached easily but that other analysts are skeptical can be achieved without a partner.
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.