As 5G becomes more prominent globally, technology giants and wireless carriers alike are trying to foster environments for 5G innovation. Most recently, T-Mobile is expanding this effort even further by providing a new developer platform, collaborating and testing facility, and new partnerships with Red Bull and Disney StudioLab to bring 5G to sports and entertainment content creation.
Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s US President of Technology, noted that more than 40% of its customers have 5G devices. “That’s an incredible rate of adoption,” he continued, “In just the last 12 months, our 5G traffic has increased sixfold, and today, nearly half of the traffic on our network is 5G.”
Ray went on to say that most of T-Mobile’s customers who use 5G spend 2X more time streaming, 5X more gaming, and 3X more using hotspot data, “We’ve seen that 5G has fundamentally changed the way people use their smartphones, and they’re just beginning to experience what 5G is truly capable of,” Ray said. He blamed telecom interactions with developers on the lack of killer new applications.
“The truth is, 5G developer innovation has been underwhelming so far,” Ray said. “It will never take off, and 5G will never live up to its full potential if the carriers don’t get out of the way. Building on 5G should be easy and accessible to all developers, but it’s not. 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 BS.”
Ray presented a video showcasing various interviews with developers detailing issues with the lack of 5G innovation, including a lack of knowledge of what’s available to them and who to talk to to get involved in 5G development.
T-Mobile is looking to solve those issues with a new “Dev Edge” program for access to its 5G network that is “fast, easy, and simple.” Perks of this program include:
- 1,000 free developer kits (limited time only)
- An expanded testing facility near existing T-Mobile facilities with access to low, mid, and high-band spectrum, networking slicing and private network installations, indoor drone test flight area, and 3D printers and laser cutters for prototype building
- Venture fund
- 5G-focused partnerships with companies like Disney, Red Bull, and Qualcomm
T-Mobile’s SVP of Emerging Business Innovation, Rob Roy, said that the Dev Edge program would streamline the approval process to get products to market faster. It’s been noted by John Saw, EVP of Advanced & Emerging Technologies, that T-Mobile will still be investing in the 5G development ecosystem through its existing Open Innovation Lab, T-Mobile Ventures, and T-Mobile Accelerator.