Verizon announced on Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with Audi to bring 5G connectivity to cars, marking its first agreement with an automaker to power 5G-enabled vehicles. The deal is expected to bring a host of new services and capabilities to Audi customers, ranging from advanced driving and safety features to fast in-car Wi-Fi and infotainment.
The collaboration will bring built-in 5G Ultra Wideband connectivity to Audi’s U.S. lineup, beginning with select models for the 2024 model year. Verizon’s “Ultra Wideband” network uses ultra-wideband millimeter wave spectrum to deliver high-speed 5G. This is different from its “5G Nationwide” network, which operates 5G and 4G. (Read more about the different “flavors” of 5G here).
With the new agreement, Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, said in a statement, “Audi drivers will be among the first in the world to experience a new generation of automobiles, one in which their car is both a 5G mobile device and a vehicle. .”
This means that passengers will be able to download or stream entertainment at higher speeds and in better quality than before. Audi will be able to upgrade infotainment and navigation systems with HD/3D mapping and video, cloud-based user profiles and mobile retail capabilities. In addition, vehicles will be able to receive firmware and software updates over the air.
Audi and Verizon are also developing cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology that will allow vehicles to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure around them. C-V2X technology is essential to the development of connected and autonomous vehicles, allowing cars to gather more information about their environment.
Although this is Verizon’s first deal to bring 5G to cars, the telecom giant has teamed up with other automotive companies, like startups Renovo and Savari, to test C-V2X. Last October, Verizon said it completed proof-of-concept research with Nissan, demonstrating how its edge network can be used to process data from cars and surrounding infrastructure before sending safety warnings back to vehicles in near real time.
Its automotive goals are in line with Verizon’s broader 5G strategy – fusing 5G with edge computing and creating an ecosystem with tech giants such as AWS and Microsoft Azure.
Meanwhile, Verizon has aggressively expanded its 5G Ultra Wideband network. After spending $52 billion last year on C-band spectrum covering the United States, Verizon has used it to bring 5G Ultra Wideband mobility service to parts of more than 1,700 cities across the United States. until now.
Audi, for its part, is no stranger to technology. It says it was the first automaker to offer in-car Wi-Fi to customers along with 4G LTE connectivity in the 2015 A3.