Disney and Verizon digging into 5G media possibilities together

Disney balloons
The new partnership with Disney seemingly validates comments former Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam made last summer after taking meetings with several media companies at the Sun Valley conference. (Pixabay)

The Walt Disney Company and Verizon are forming a pact to explore the possibilities within media and entertainment opened up by 5G network technologies.

According to Variety, the 5G exploration will take place within Disney’s StudioLab, which is based on Disney Studios’ lot in Burbank, California. Walt Disney Studios chief technology officer Jamie Voris told the publication that the companies will be testing 5G as a way to provide connectivity for remote production locales. The companies are excited about downlink speeds nearing 300 Mbps that would allow wireless users to download full movies in a matter of seconds.

“We see 5G changing everything about how media is produced and consumed,” Voris said.

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Verizon officially launched its in-home 5G wireless broadband service in September. The initial markets included Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

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The new partnership with Disney seemingly validates comments former Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam made last summer after taking meetings with several media companies at the Sun Valley conference. He said Verizon showed “all the major content providers” how 5G networks will improve capacity and latency and their eyes lit up about what’s possible.

“It’s our belief that we’re positioned perfectly to have the partnerships that we need to be successful. We’re not going to be owning content so we’re not going to be competing with other content providers. We’re going to be their best partner from a distribution perspective and I think that makes great sense for the company going forward,” McAdam said during a second-quarter earnings call.

Of course, Verizon isn’t the only U.S. wireless provider pushing 5G. AT&T is also working on getting the technology up and running, and the company has a large interest in seeing its WarnerMedia division—home to Turner, HBO and Warner Bros.—benefit from the enhanced network.

Last year, AT&T announced plans to launch a wireless 5G test zone on Magic Leap’s corporate campus in Florida. Magic Leap is an augmented reality startup in which AT&T owns a partial stake.

"New and immersive experiences from Magic Leap's developers eventually riding on the AT&T mobile 5G network will redefine entertainment and productivity," said John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, in a statement.