T-Mobile is Aiming to Advance 5G Drone Technology

T-Mobile is continuing to make moves in 2020 and the company’s latest announcement proves they plan on ending the year with a bang. The “Un-Carrier” announced that it made an unspecified investment in The Drone Racing League (DRL) through the T-Mobile Ventures Fund in hopes of increasing their knowledge in 5G drone technology. 

T-Mobile is DRL’s exclusive 5G partner and will work together to create the first integrated 5G racing drones with the goal of “authentically building them into the sport” according to a press release from T-Mobile. DRL will first develop custom racing drones powered by T-Mobile 5G during the 2021 DRL Allianz World Championship Season. 

DRL’s drones using T-Mobile 5G will provide an immersive experience by streaming DRL’s 3D racing action in real-time across the country and ultimately open up new applications and opportunities for a wide variety of industries. 

“We invested in DRL to fuel innovation in two large and growing markets – drones and tech-powered sports – and we can’t wait to supercharge both with T-Mobile 5G,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. “The world’s fastest drones and the nation’s largest 5G network – now that’s a fantastic combination!”

T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have all been actively involved in developing drone technologies over the past few years and that rivalry is only going to take it up a notch with the carriers’ 5G networks going live. Verizon started with drone technology in 2017 with the purchase of Skyward, a company that allows enterprises to deploy drones at scale. T-Mobile got involved in the drone world back in 205 when it started to integrate drones with their network to try and enable infrastructure inspection and delivery services. T-Mobile and Verizon are also members of the Small UAV Coalition, a group focused on drone policy and legislation in the federal government. 

“Our goal is to help safely integrate small UAVs into the national air space and fuel innovation that will drive economic growth by bringing new services and capabilities to businesses and consumers,” Saw wrote. “With T-Mobile 5G we are working to unlock advanced drone operations such as flight that goes well beyond line of sight.”

Both Verizon and AT&T are deploying their standalone (SA) 5G networks while T-Mobile was the first to do so, believing they have the advantage over their competition. It’s worth mentioning though, that all three carriers have deployed their first 5G networks on a non-standalone (NSA) network, T-Mobile was the first to deploy an SA network. 

Areas that have a live SA 5G network are already seeing major improvements in latency, some engineers saying as much as 40%. Latency is essential for drones because low latency enables quick coordination and communication of drones in the area which is imperative for traffic management systems that need to be able to control the drones in real-time. 

Drones aren’t all entertainment, T-Mobile has several different case uses for drone technology for the betterment of society. For example, Unmanned Life is using drones to disinfect public spaces in the UK to help against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The company also plans on using drones to deliver medical supplies to pharmacies and patients at home with COVID in the Oxford area. 

Sources: Fierce Wireless and T-Mobile