June 12, 2019
AT&T and Uber are working on LTE -- and eventually 5G -- connectivity for vertical take-off and landing taxis (eVTOLs) and cargo drones.
The multi-stage deal was announced at Uber's yearly Elevate Summit in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
AT&T is already working with Uber to test drone delivery in San Diego. Its networks will also be used to support the launch of Uber Copter, a high-end helicopter service that's launching in New York City in July.
"We’re in the very earliest stages of seeing what 5G can do to augment next-generation air travel, but we're excited for the possibilities," said Andre Fuetsch, president and chief technology officer of AT&T Labs, in a statement. "Ridesharing services were one of the defining mobile applications of the 4G era. Air taxis and other new air vehicles could well eventually become a signature use case for 5G."
AT&T has so far launched 5G in limited areas of 19 US cities using millimeter-wave spectrum. More relevantly for air transportation needs, AT&T intends to launch "sub 6GHz" 5G in the US in 2020, probably using 700MHz frequencies. This will make longer range connections much more viable. Related posts: AT&T's New Nationwide, Mobile 5G Timeline Tower Trouble: AT&T Keeps Pushing Cell Tower Landlords to Reduce Rent In Nationwide 5G, It Will Be AT&T's 700MHz vs. T-Mobile's 600MHz AT&T Taking Broadband Nationwide in 3-5 Years via Fiber & 5G — Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading
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