Verizon will use Amazon’s low Earth orbit satellites to increase 4G and 5G

Enlarge / A Verizon sales space at Cellular World Congress Americas in Los Angeles in September 2018.

Verizon has made a deal to make use of Amazon’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites so as to add capability to the Verizon mobile community and supply fixed-wireless Web service in rural elements of the US. Verizon mentioned it’ll use Amazon satellite tv for pc connectivity for each shoppers and huge companies.

There will not be any speedy change to Verizon’s companies as a result of Amazon has mentioned its Undertaking Kuiper division will not launch any satellites till not less than 2023. The businesses yesterday introduced a “strategic collaboration” wherein they “have begun to develop technical specs and outline preliminary industrial fashions for a variety of connectivity companies for US shoppers and world enterprise prospects working in rural and distant areas around the globe.”

Verizon already offers LTE home-Web service in rural areas and 5G home-Web service in city areas. However availability is restricted, and Verizon plans to make use of Amazon Kuiper to develop its fixed-wireless choices.

“To start, Amazon and Verizon will concentrate on increasing Verizon information networks utilizing mobile backhaul options from Undertaking Kuiper,” the Verizon announcement mentioned. “The combination will leverage antenna improvement already in progress from the Undertaking Kuiper workforce, and each engineering groups at the moment are working collectively to outline technical necessities to assist lengthen mounted wi-fi protection to rural and distant communities throughout the US.” Utilizing Kuiper for mobile backhaul will “lengthen Verizon’s 4G/LTE and 5G information networks” in these rural and distant communities, Verizon mentioned.

Service a “few years away”

Verizon instructed CNET that Kuiper-powered service for patrons is a “few years away” and that the deal is nonexclusive for each Verizon and Amazon. Verizon may thus associate with extra satellite tv for pc corporations, and Amazon may provide its satellite tv for pc connectivity to different mobile carriers. Verizon additionally mentioned it intends to make use of Amazon Kuiper “to make your entire map of the US purple”—in different phrases, to fill in protection gaps the place Verizon’s wi-fi connectivity is weak or nonexistent.

Whereas the Verizon/Amazon plans are imprecise now since they’re nonetheless in an early stage, the businesses mentioned they’ll “discover joint connectivity options for home and world enterprises throughout agriculture, vitality, manufacturing, training, emergency response, transportation and different industries.”

Amazon plans to make use of Kuiper to “serve particular person households, in addition to faculties, hospitals, companies and different organizations working in locations the place Web entry is restricted or unavailable,” the announcement famous. Amazon has US approval to launch 3,236 low Earth orbit satellites and says it plans to speculate greater than $10 billion within the challenge. In contrast, SpaceX Starlink has been offering LEO satellite tv for pc Web service in beta for a couple of 12 months, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk mentioned the service will come out of beta this month.

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