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Verizon to expand fast 5G to NFL stadiums, music venues, and UPS delivery drones

January 12, 2021, 1:51 AM UTC

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Verizon plans to add superfast 5G mobile service to 28 NFL stadiums this year so that fans the teams playing can more easily watch video replays and see multiple camera angles on plays.

The carrier, which made the announcement at the 2021 CES tech trade show on Monday, already offers 5G in parts of 64 cities. The networks offer download speeds that are 10 to 100-times faster than average 4G LTE connections. In October, Verizon also unveiled a slower nationwide 5G that has drawn some complaints of poor performance.

The company is battling rivals AT&T and T-Mobile to win over consumers with faster download speeds. Businesses, meanwhile, want to use 5G in manufacturing, health care, and other fields to speed up data collection and computing, a feature that could prove useful for everything from drones to self-driving cars.

Here what Verizon announced at CES:

Big stadiums, fast service

The carrier’s expansion of 5G to 28 NFL stadiums this year is intended to provide better multimedia experiences to huge crowds. Without the upgrade, such video traffic would overwhelm existing Wi-Fi and 4G mobile networks. Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., where the Super Bowl is being played this year, will be wired in time for the big game, said Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg.

A better tune

Verizon also plans to add 5G service inside 15 music venues managed by Live Nation, starting with The Wiltern in Los Angeles and including The Fillmore in Miami, The Masonic Theater in San Francisco, and Irving Plaza in New York. The networks will allow fans with compatible 5G phones to see video close-ups of the performers from multiple angles, much like the NFL stadium networks. Some of the venues may be in cities where Verizon has already installed 5G gear outdoors, but 5G signals don’t penetrate buildings well, requiring additional equipment inside the music venues.

Drone delivery

Verizon is partnering with delivery giant UPS on using 5G to manage a planned drone delivery network, Vestberg said, joined during his presentation by UPS CEO Carol Tome. In a trial at The Villages, a large retirement community outside Orlando, Fla., UPS will use drones from startup Skyward to deliver goods from local retail stores. Verizon’s 4G and 5G network will help manage the drone traffic.

“We will need the ability to manage and support multiple drones, flying simultaneously, dispatched from a centralized location, operating in a secure and safe environment,” Tome explained. “To do this at scale, alongside Verizon and Skyward, we’ll need the power of 5G.”

Museums on 5G

Verizon also announced several partnership not directly tied to 5G but that might stir more demand for use of the technology. In an alliance with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Verizon will provide help for some of the museum’s most famous artworks to be rendered digitally in three dimensions in virtual galleries. The works will include paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrandt, as well as the Temple of Dendur from Egypt and the medieval tapestry The Unicorn Rests in a Garden.

In another partnership, Verizon is expanding its relationship with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. to bring more of its collection online in three-dimensional digital versions. New artifacts to be made available digitally for augmented-reality systems will include exhibitions at the National Museum of American History about girlhood throughout American history and Latino communities involvement with baseball.

Last week, Verizon announced that it would add fast 5G in parts of three more cities, bringing its national total to parts of 64 cities. The carrier also expanded its home Internet service based on 5G from 12 cities to six more cities including Miami, Phoenix, and San Francisco.