Verizon tries to crowdsource 5G moneymaking ideas

Operators are looking for the “killer” 5G app to recoup the cost of rolling out 5G networks. (Getty Images)

Now that it’s rolling out a 5G network across the U.S., Verizon is looking for ways to make money from it. To that end, Verizon is conducting a “Built on 5G Challenge,” a nationwide search for products, services, and applications for 5G. And the company is now accepting applications for the contest.

The challenge is looking for ideas that use 5G and related technologies such as low-latency edge computing. 

“We’re calling on innovators to create truly transformative solutions that leverage 5G’s ultrafast speeds, massive bandwidth and low latency,” said Kyle Malady, Verizon’s chief technology officer, in a statement. “We expect to see new uses cases that not only enhance existing technologies but create experiences we couldn’t even fathom until now.”


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Other operators are also looking for the “killer” 5G app because the cost of rolling out 5G networks is expensive, and the costs won’t be recouped simply by increasing prices for mobile connections. At Sprint’s press conference at MWC 2019 to announce its initial rollout of its 5G network, executives said they thought one of the first big use cases for 5G would likely be gaming.

RELATED: Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband pricing scheme is a hint at what’s to come

Word on the street cynically suggests that the first real moneymaking application for 5G might be related to pornography, which played a big role in the expansion of the internet itself.

RELATED: KT searches for its 'cash cow' 5G use case at MWC

Verizon’s contest

In order to be eligible for Verizon’s Challenge, teams must be part of a U.S. company that has 200 or fewer employees.
Challenge areas are: 

  • 5G solutions for businesses. For example, this might include the use of 5G to improve processes on a factory floor or assist customers in a retail environment. 
  • 5G for immersive experiences. For example, this might include the use of 5G and immersive technologies such as virtual reality or augmented reality to create new ways for consumers to experience media.
  • Moonshots: 5G-enabled, transformative solutions that solve big problems. For example, this might include value being created in new industries by using one or more of Verizon’s “Eight Currencies of 5G.”

Submissions will be open until July 15, and the winners will be announced in October 2019. The winning team will receive $1 million, and the second and third prize teams will receive $500,000 and $250,000, respectively. Prizewinners will be required to grant Verizon the opportunity to invest in their next financing round. All winning teams will be given an opportunity to access live 5G networks located at Verizon’s 5G Labs to further develop their submissions.


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