T-Mobile aims to jump start 5G applications development with a slew of initiatives the company is calling 5G Forward. Elements of T-Mobile 5G Forward include a new in-house venture fund, a new development platform, a new innovation center and new content development deals with Disney StudioLAB and Red Bull.
The latest generation 5G wireless technology “has the potential to usher in the next technology revolution,” said T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray on a webcast announcing the initiative today. He added, though, that “the truth is 5G developer innovation has been underwhelming so far. . . and it will never take off . . . if the carriers don’t get out of the way.”
According to Ray, “the carriers’ developer programs were created for companies just like them – massive enterprises with the resources and time to navigate a complicated maze of carrier processes and bureaucratic B.S.”
To back up these claims, the webcast featured a prerecorded video of 5G entrepreneurs who noted, for example, that losing a day on development because of bureaucratic delays causes a startup to burn through invested cash unproductively.
T-Mobile 5G Forward
The name for T-Mobile’s new 5G developer platform is “DevEdge.” The platform includes a wide range of pre-certified modules, chipsets and devices, as well as a streamlined certification process. Developers will also be able to use APIs and OpenSource projects that “unlock insights into device performance and create opportunities to improve the user experience,” according to a press release.
The first 1,000 people to sign up for DevEdge will get a free developer kit designed to enable developers to “connect to the network immediately with no strings attached,” T-Mobile said.
T-Mobile Ventures, the company’s 5G-focused fund, announced investments in software defined telecom developer SignalWire and in SpectroCloud, a Kubernetes enterprise management platform.
Tech Experience 5G Hub
T-Mobile’s new 24,000-square foot innovation center is located near Seattle and is called the Tech Experience 5G Hub. As T-Mobile Senior Director of Network Technology Services and Innovation Erin Raney explained on the webcast, developers using the hub will be able to get access to 5G operating at different frequencies and to network slicing, private wireless networks, 3D printers, and other capabilities. There is even an indoor drone dome.
The agreement with Red Bull also is expected to involve drones. Among other things, T-Mobile plans to provide 5G connectivity for drone-mounted cameras aimed at transforming how viewers watch sporting events.
The agreement with Disney StudioLAB aims to explore immersive fan experiences such as mixed reality and virtual presence.