Verizon CEO tips C-band to boost its MEC play

Hans Vestberg Verizon
Verizon CSO Rima Qureshi highlighted how 5G and MEC are expected to unleash robots and drones. (Verizon)

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg predicted its forthcoming rollout of C-band spectrum would help speed adoption of mobile edge compute (MEC) capabilities, aiding the operator’s efforts to tap a multi-billion market.

Delivering a keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Vestberg said Verizon believes it can serve several use cases using a single network, including mobility, fixed wireless access and MEC. Though the operator’s recent acquisition of $45 billion worth of C-band spectrum will undoubtedly benefit all of these, Vestberg singled out MEC in his remarks.

He stated the new airwaves would “accelerate the adoption of MEC,” adding “we believe that the demand for MEC services unlocks a total market that is forecasted to exceed $30 billion by 2025 in the United States. With the promise of MEC and the addition of C-band spectrum we will build a transformative high-impact, multi-layered infrastructure of mobile networks, broadband and cloud.”

Earlier this month, Verizon CFO Matt Ellis said the operator was on track to build 7,000 to 8,000 C-band sites this year to boost its 5G network.

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During the keynote, Verizon Chief Strategy Officer Rima Qureshi painted a picture of how the operator envisions its 5G and MEC networks being put to use, spotlighting robotics and drone use cases.

“The 5G workplace will make it possible for robots to connect with other robots and other devices of all kinds in a way that simply wasn’t possible before,” she said. “Combining robots with digital space orchestration over 5G can make robots smarter and more productive enabling multiple types of robots to work together safely and efficiently.”

Qureshi explained that the combination of 5G and MEC will allow software intelligence to shift from onboard a robot to the network itself, ultimately making the machines “more affordable and accessible for innovators, for entrepreneurs, for schools, hospitals and nonprofit organizations and for businesses large and small.”

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She added 5G capabilities will unleash new potential in drones, noting that without network connectivity these have to land frequently to download data collected during flights.

“Once you connect them to the network, the flow of information can be as fast as the network itself,” Qureshi said. “And because you can now deploy the network to collect more data and analyze it at the edge, your ability to collect, process and act on all of that data goes way up.”