Dish Network has taken a huge step forward in its journey to become the nation’s fourth largest wireless carrier, one that should have been, oh, let’s say many months ago. As reported by Axios, its 5G network, also known as Project Genesis, has finally rolled out to paying customers in Las Vegas, graduating from the beta program that began late last year. For $30 per month, it includes unlimited 5G data, talk, text, and, uh, this: “Plus, we’re including a white-collar delivery experience and exclusive access to the Project Genesis app where you can earn rewards.” Rewards including…NFT.
As part of T-Mobile’s agreement to buy Sprint, Dish Network has been tasked by the FCC to take Sprint’s place as our fourth carrier. It’s taking an unconventional route to get there, building its 5G network using O-RAN technology, which is open source and based on more off-the-shelf hardware rather than lots of proprietary components. Samsung is also in the mix, supplying software and radios.
So it’s not too surprising that this unconventional network has some unconventional terms. For example, you cannot bring your own device at this time. You will need a project issued by Genesis…wait for it…Motorola Edge Plus (2022). That’s the only compatible phone and it’s given to you by a “Project Genesis ambassador” who appears to be a guy in a pickup truck marked Project Genesis.
Customers can access support through a Project Genesis app, which also doubles as a playful way to help tune up the network. You will earn points for your participation and potentially NFTs. Seriously, there’s a whole section on the terms and conditions page about an “engagement app” offering “exclusive offers and loyalty rewards” including non-fungible tokens, and while a customer support rep tells us those I might For beta testers only, a Project Genesis FAQ suggests that treating the network like a game is part of the appeal:
The more points you earn, the more you get, from rewards like exclusive NFTs to special gear and more.
“Project Genesis makes no representations or warranties as to the quality, merchantability, or value of such NFTs,” the company writes. Just so you know.
Also, a lengthy portion of that terms and conditions page states that 911 dispatchers may not be able to see your phone number or location, and you can’t hold Dish Network responsible for anything bad that happens to you as a result. It’s also in all caps, so you know they’re serious.
YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT ANY INJURY ARISING FROM MISROUTED 911 CALLS, WHETHER OR NOT THE CALL WAS ROUTED BY A PUBLIC SAFETY ANSWERING POINT OR OFFICIAL EMERGENCY OPERATOR, IS NOT THE FAULT OR RESPONSIBILITY OF PROJECT GENESIS AND YOU. EXONERATES PROJECT GENESIS FROM ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY.
The company’s documentation is also full of trademarks to help you understand how innovative Dish thinks its network will be. Taking a quick look at the US Patent and Trademark Office, we can see that Dish has applied for:
5G smart network
5G smart wireless network
smart wireless network
America’s smart grid
America’s first smart grid
America’s first smart grid
Dish is fast approaching an FCC deadline to cover 20 percent of the population with its service by June, and to that end, it has released a list of more than 100 cities it plans to expand to next. If your area is on the list, you can sign up to potentially become a beta tester before the service goes public. Who knows? Maybe by then you’ll have more device options than the Edge Plus.