Dish Network continued lining up vendor deals for a planned 5G open RAN deployment, contracting Dell Technologies to deliver network and edge-compute infrastructure.

The operator stated Dell’s track record in delivering network transformation and its software expertise were key drivers of the deal, which also involves joint development of related technologies.

Dish Network chief network officer Marc Rouanne cited Dell’s “willingness to work with us on designing and implementing infrastructure as code”, as a key element.

Network automation will be handled by Dell’s zero-touch provisioning and deployment of containerised RAN network functions, a capability the vendor plans to provide through its newly-unveiled Metalweaver product.

Also included is development of private 5G wireless network systems, software-defined WAN and multi-access edge cloud platforms which the pair will jointly market. Other R&D focus areas include smart network interface cards, emerging micro-edge colocation and operational automation, with the goal of creating enterprise multi-access edge computing (MEC) products.

The companies also aim to boost “silicon diversity for 5G RAN and edge infrastructure”, and plan to design and certify 5G-capable Dell laptop PCs for Dish Network’s commercial service, a strategy involving device management and e-SIM capabilities.

Dell owns a majority stake in VMware, one of the first vendors Dish Network hired. The operator also has deals with companies including AWS, Nokia, Oracle, Intel and Qualcomm.