The risky new way of building mobile broadband networks


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In 2019, the Trump administration brokered a deal allowing TMobile to buy Sprint as long as it helped Dish Network stand up a new 5G network to keep the number of national wireless carriers at 4 and preserve competition in the mobile market. Now, in 2022, Dish’s network is slowly getting off the ground. And it’s built on a new kind of wireless technology called Open Radio Access Network, or O-RAN. Dish’s network is only the third O-RAN network in the entire world, and if O-RAN works, it will radically change how the entire wireless industry operates.

I have wanted to know more about O-RAN for a long time. So today, I’m talking to Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Mobile. Rakuten Mobile is a new wireless carrier in Japan, it just launched in 2020 – it’s also the world’s first Open RAN network, and Tareq basically pushed this whole concept into existence. I really wanted to know if ORAN is going to work, and how Tareq managed to make it happen in such a traditional industry. So we got into it – like, really into it.



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Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Today’s episode was produced by Creighton DeSimone and Jackie McDermott and it was edited by Callie Wright.

The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder. Our Sr Audio Director is Andrew Marino. Our Editorial Director is Brooke Minters. And our Executive Producer is Eleanor Donovan.

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