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

A giant Verizon 5G logo in an expo hall.
Enlarge / A Verizon sales space at Cell 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 components of the US. Verizon stated it can use Amazon satellite tv for pc connectivity for each shoppers and huge companies.

There will not be any rapid change to Verizon’s providers as a result of Amazon has said its Undertaking Kuiper division will not launch any satellites till at the least 2023. The businesses yesterday announced a “strategic collaboration” through which they “have begun to develop technical specs and outline preliminary industrial fashions for a variety of connectivity providers for US shoppers and world enterprise prospects working in rural and distant places world wide.”

Verizon already gives LTE home-Internet service in rural areas and 5G home-Web service in urban areas. However availability is limited, and Verizon plans to make use of Amazon Kuiper to broaden 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 stated. “The mixing will leverage antenna growth already in progress from the Undertaking Kuiper crew, and each engineering groups at the moment are working collectively to outline technical necessities to assist prolong mounted wi-fi protection to rural and distant communities throughout america.” Utilizing Kuiper for mobile backhaul will “prolong Verizon’s 4G/LTE and 5G information networks” in these rural and distant communities, Verizon stated.

Service a “few years away”

Verizon told CNET that Kuiper-powered service for purchasers 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 supply its satellite tv for pc connectivity to different mobile carriers. Verizon additionally stated it intends to make use of Amazon Kuiper “to make all the 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 obscure now since they’re nonetheless in an early stage, the businesses stated they’ll “discover joint connectivity options for home and world enterprises throughout agriculture, power, manufacturing, training, emergency response, transportation and different industries.”

Amazon plans to make use of Kuiper to “serve particular person households, in addition to colleges, 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 take a position greater than $10 billion within the mission. In contrast, SpaceX Starlink has been offering LEO satellite tv for pc Web service in beta for a few 12 months, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the service will come out of beta this month.

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