Feb 12, 2019

Verizon wants consumers to do its 5G bidding

Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Aiming to convince cities to move faster on 5G, Verizon is enlisting its consumers to do some work on its behalf.

What's new: The company launched a website on Monday where consumers and businesses can petition their local governments to support the deployment of new networking gear, known as small cells, needed to deliver the next generation of cellular technology,

The purpose is two-fold: Getting customers to engage with public officials in favor of 5G, and spotting groundswells of interest as an indicator of demand.

  • Translated: Verizon is leveraging its customers for local lobbying — although Verizon says it's fully transparent that it's behind the effort — while also mapping out its footprint.
  • "We want to build networks and services on those networks, and to do that we need constituents who want those services," a Verizon spokesperson tells Axios.

Why it matters: A major hurdle for telecom companies wanting to roll out 5G is getting each municipal government to approve all the permitting requests to install hundreds of thousands of small-cell antennas all over town.

Verizon is also taking a page out of the playbook used by tech companies when expanding to new areas.

  • For example, Google and Amazon asked cities to pitch them on bringing high-speed fiber internet service and HQ2, respectively, to their areas.
  • Yes, but: Google Fiber was selling the promise of fast fiber, which at the time (2011) was rare and enticing. Amazon HQ was selling jobs, jobs, jobs. Verizon, on the other hand, is selling a technology whose applications don't yet exist.

Our thought bubble: Motivating the masses to shout loudly that they want 5G faster could be tough. Despite the industry hype around 5G, many consumers still have no idea what it is or why they should care. For many, their current 4G LTE service allows them to stream movies and browse the web just fine.

Go deeper: Trump team considers nationalizing 5G network

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Racing driver Ryan Newman was hospitalized in a serious condition with non-life threatening injuries after his car crashed at the Daytona 500 on Monday, NASCAR said in a statement.

The big picture: The 42-year-old was leading the final lap of the race, won by Denny Hamlin, when his car flipped in the fiery crash. President Trump tweeted after the crash, "Praying for Ryan Newman, a great and brave @NASCARdriver!"

Go deeper: Trump takes presidential limousine for lap at Daytona 500

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This is an effort to write history and I did it the best I can. We'll have to see what comes out of the censorship."
Bolton's comments, per Bloomberg and the New York Times

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Why it matters: Similar issues to the ones that plagued Iowa's caucus seem to be rearing their ugly heads, the WashPost reports.