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29 November 2022

Dish launches developer site and opens up 5G network APIs

Dish Network has launched a website and a developer competition, under the brand ‘Level up your dev’, to encourage people to write applications for its 5G network. The competition will be staged alongside the AWS re:Invent show in Las Vegas this week.

“We’re changing the game so you can innovate with complete control to develop the future of seamless wireless connectivity, distributed workloads and data-driven apps,” says the website.

Developers will be able to test the network and work with other developers as well as Dish executives, including Brian Mengwasser, VP of the company’s MarketPlace and Apps Design, who is leading the project and the creation of the Dish portal.

“A guiding principle at Dish is to open the network and eliminate any barriers to network APIs,” wrote three executives – Julian Bishop, Nikhil Sharma and Ramanathan Sekkappan – in a recent post. “We believe that providing a low-risk, low-cost way to experiment on a 5G network is essential to accelerate innovations that require 5G connectivity. Exposing our network APIs is our approach to mobilizing developers around the nation so they can experiment on our platform in an easy and scalable manner.”

Categories of APIs that will be exposed to developers include connectivity service, service observability, in-network cloud service and subscriber provisioning service. The last of these is the first to be fully available, and it provides APIs and details for processes such as activating and suspending customers’ devices, managing SIMs and customer profiles, and moving phone numbers.

“Using a legacy system, a developer would have to wait between 12 to 18 months to activate a device SIM card if they face restrictions or complicated configuration,” the blog post continued. “Then, the developer would have to rely on the network operator to maintain usage, billing and deactivation. This can be incredibly time-consuming especially for a developer working with hundreds of devices.”

Dish currently transmits 5G from about 10,000 cell towers around the USA, and is adding 1,000 towers a month, towards a planned total of about 35,000. Dish aims to reach 75% of the US population by June 2023.