AT&T, Verizon Begin Land Grabbing for Flashy 5G Partnerships

Mike Dano
11/21/2019

The race is on between the nation's two largest 5G operators to see which one can sign up the best and most interesting 5G content and technology partnerships.

The goal, of course, is to figure out what 5G is good for.

First up is Verizon, which today announced a new augmented reality partnership with Snap, the creator of Snapchat (the messaging platform ubiquitous among millenials).

"Our strategy is to partner with the best brands to ensure our customers have exclusive access to cutting edge technology and services," explained Verizon's Frank Boulben, SVP of marketing and products. "Our 5G Ultra Wideband technology should change the way mobile users forever experience places and events, evolving the way they see the world."

Not to be outdone, AT&T announced two 5G partnerships this week, one with Purdue University's College of Engineering (for advanced manufacturing, smart cities and IoT, and rural broadband and agricultural technology for disaster response) and another with The Washington Post (to see "what immersive journalism can do better as the world is increasingly connected to 5G," according to AT&T.)

AT&T's 5G partnership with The Washington Post is particularly noteworthy considering it comes on the heels of Verizon's partnership with the Post's main rival, The New York Times, also for 5G testing.

Why this matters
These are just a few of the examples of the kinds of partnerships that AT&T, Verizon and other 5G operators are signing.

A 5G optimist could argue such partnerships will speed innovation in the 5G sector by pointing diverse players toward a common goal. On the other hand, a 5G pessimist could argue that such partnerships simply reflect a technology in search of an application -- a concerning situation for investors.

Regardless, in the coming months it's reasonable to expect AT&T, Verizon and others to rack up additional flashy partnerships with all kinds of entities in the hopes that at least one of those will give rise to an innovative, 5G-powered service or application that people will actually pay for.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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