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Axios' Ina Fried hosted a conversation on the potential of 5G and its capacity to disrupt everything from emergency response technology to sports, featuring Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, Qwake Technologies co-founder John Long, and ORBI CEO Iskander Rakhman.

Cristiano Amon discussed the success of Qualcomm's 5G phones, which recently reported sales and earnings that exceeded expectations. He highlighted how 5G will change mobile phones and household devices in the future.

  • How 5G will upend consumers' video capabilities: "5G will do to video what 4G did to music...We don't listen to CDs in our cars. We stream music everywhere. And that's going to happen with high-resolution video. 95% of the time with 5G, you're going to be able to consume video in the highest possible resolution was made and it's going to turn each and every one of us into a broadcaster"

Hans Vestberg unpacked the increased capacity of 5G and how this will have a tangible impact on consumers.

  • On the leap from 4G to 5G: "On 5G I can connect one million devices per square kilometer...At the same time in 4G, I can do at this one hundred thousand."

In a new Smarter, Faster segment, Ina Fried hosted a rapid-fire Q&A with guests using 5G technology in their fields.

  • John Long discussed how 5G's improved bandwidth is critical for emergency responders: "If there's ever...a natural event where you have 50 hundred firefighters, several hundred, that's where you really need 5G. You need that scale. You won't have that bandwidth for a small number of people."
  • Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin on how cities can use 5G to make informed policy decisions: "If we can use interconnected devices that give faster and more reliable data, then we can come back and talk about issues like climate change and the impacts on, say, pollution and wind and rain."
  • Iskander Rakhman on the role of 5G in sports entertainment: "5G is going to be essential for bringing new types of experience to increase engagement among the fans of various ages."

Thank you Verizon for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Team Trump's 5G misfires

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios


The Trump administration, eager to win the 5G race and outflank China's Huawei, has run one plan after another up the flagpole — but found it hard to keep any of them flying.

Driving the news: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow aired a new approach Tuesday to speed the emergence of U.S.-led alternatives to Huawei. Attorney General William Barr dismissed the same idea Thursday as "pie in the sky."

Kim Hart, author of Cities
Jan 29, 2020 - Technology

The battle over 5G deployment in America's cities

The fate of the national race to build 5G wireless service depends on how effectively the guts of the network — namely, hundreds of thousands of bulky antennas — are placed in cities.

Why it matters: While global tensions mount over pressure to build 5G networks as fast as possible, U.S. cities are in a fight of their own with telecom carriers and federal regulators over how new 5G antennas — or small cells — will be scattered throughout downtowns and neighborhoods.

Senate confirms Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 on Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to lead the Commerce Department.

Why it matters: The agency promotes U.S. industry, oversees the Census Bureau, plays a key role in the government's study of climate change through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and evaluates emerging technology through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.