Verizon CEO pitches 5G as a 'platform' for services like drone delivery

Richard Lawler
·Senior News Editor
·2-min read

As 5G connectivity rolls out across the country in fits and starts, we’re still asking whether the upgrades will make for a noticeable change in our wireless connectivity. During a CES keynote, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg (Verizon owns Engadget’s parent company) tried to make the case that 5G is “the platform that makes other innovations possible.”

Verizon announced a deal between its subsidiary, Skyward and UPS Flight Forward to team up on delivery drones that use 4G LTE at first, and include testing with 5G connections later this year. In a statement, UPS CEO Carol B. Tomé said 5G will be necessary to do these kinds of deliveries at scale.

Other deals include Live Nation and the NFL. Verizon’s 5G UWB (the much faster kind of 5G that uses mmWave to hit up to 4 Gbps, but doesn’t have a ton of range) is being deployed at 15 Live Nation theaters/clubs so when we’re ready to go outside again, there should be plenty of bandwidth available, and until then, it can be used to live stream virtual performances from multiple camera angles. As far as the NFL, Verizon plans to have 5G UWB live in 28 stadiums by the end of this year, and showed off Verizon’s 5G SuperStadium in the NFL app with augmented reality effects that include on-screen stat tracking for people with certain 5G devices.

Last week Verizon revealed that its nationwide 5G service (which includes slower connections that can sometimes be more like 4G, but reach further) covers 230 million people in 2,700 US cities. It also expanded the Fios Forward program — which offers discounted broadband access to people who qualify for Lifeline government assistance — to include existing customers.

5G Ultra WideBand is expanding to places like Colorado Springs, CO; Columbia, SC and Knoxville, TN, while 5G Home Internet that can hit 1 Gbps down is rolling out to Arlington, TX; Miami, FL; Anaheim, CA; Phoenix, AZ; San Francisco, CA and St. Louis, MO, plus 5G home or wireless customers can get 12 months of Discovery+ streaming access free.