EchoStar snagged contract extensions from the US Department of Defence (DoD) for open RAN-based private 5G networks across several military installations, which marked a much-needed customer win for the company.

It stated the awards are for the continued deployment of standalone (SA) 5G networks using open RAN components at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) in Hawaii and at the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) in Washington.

The goal of the projects is to help the DoD evaluate 5G applications for military uses cases as well as LEO and GEO satellite communications resiliency.

EchoStar stated it first won a contract from the DoD for NASWI in 2021 followed by an additional expansion in Huawei a year later.

The newest contracts run until 2025 with the promise of “additional 5G enhancements,” according to EchoStar.

EchoStar satellite subsidiary Hughes is the primary contractor for the DoD deployments, which include network elements such as radio access, edge cloud, and a packet processing core along with a “zero trust architecture”.

The multi-vendor ecosystem also includes: transport routers, switches, and firewalls from Cisco; computing infrastructure from Dell Technologies; RAN gear from JMA Wireless; edge cloud stack and Intel Xeon processors from Intel; and site survey and network installation services from Boingo Wireless.

The deployments are using EchoStar’s 5G spectrum, which it acquired through its merger with Dish Network earlier this year.

EchoStar did not reveal how much the contracts are worth. The company is struggling to stay afloat after building its own greenfield, open RAN-based commercial 5G network.

Earlier this month, auditors stated in an SEC filing there is “substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern” and highlighted an expectation by the company that it will “use a substantial amount of cash in the next 12 months”.

In January, EchoStar subsidiary Dish Wireless won a $50 million contract from a separate US agency to build an open RAN test centre in Cheyenne, Wyoming.