T-Mobile initiates new 5G startup program with Curiosity Lab, Georgia Tech

T-Mobile is launching a new 5G incubator program for startups to help develop next-generation applications by leveraging resources from the carrier, Georgia Tech, and Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners.

Dubbed the 5G Connected Future program, it builds on earlier initiatives by the operator to help move 5G-enabled services and tech forward, like T-Mobile’s Accelerator program.  

The program is to take place in the 500-acre smart city tech park of Peachtree Corners, which has 25,000 square foot Innovation Center and a 3-mile track to test autonomous vehicles.  

T-Mobile deployed both its Extended Range 5G (which uses spectrum in the 600 MHz band), and Ultra Capacity 5G (a name used for its 2.5 GHz, and millimeter wave 5G service) in the tech park that startups can utilize. T-Mobile’s low-band flavor of 5G covers more than 280 million people in the U.S. and 1.6 million square miles.

There are more than 8,000 people that work or live in the so-called “living lab” at Peachtree Corners, located in a northern suburb of Atlanta. The aim is to provide a place where developers can create and test 5G-enabled products and services in a real-world environment.

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As they work to bring solutions to market, participating companies will work directly with engineers, technology, and business experts within T-Mobile Accelerators, Georgia Tech and Curiosity Lab. The focus is on applications like robotics, industrial done applications, mixed reality training and entertainment, remote medical care, and personal health and fitness wearables.

Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is going to partner on lab management for the 5G Connected Future Program. It’s the fourth effort of its kind for ATDC. Other ATDC incubator programs have focused on health, retail, and financial tech.

ATDC also is tasked with programming, recruiting and evaluating startups , and will hire staff to manage the program in Peachtree Corners.

“In addition to the normal startup concerns, entrepreneurs in the 5G space face a unique set of challenges such as regulatory issues at the state and local levels, network security, and integration testing,” said ATDC Director John Avery in a statement.

The collaboration between partners is an opportunity “to create a unique collection to work with these companies, refine their ideas into scalable companies, and bring these solutions to market more quickly,” Avery continued.

Partnering up and providing resources for startups, developers and entrepreneurs to develop 5G-enabled applications is a trend among carriers in the hunt to put 5G capabilities to use.

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“We cannot wait to see the innovation that occurs as entrepreneurs and developers build the next big thing in 5G backed by these world-class resources,” said John Saw, EVP of Advanced & Emerging Technologies at T-Mobile, in a statement.

The T-Mobile Accelerator has worked with 67 startups that have raised over $51 million since participating in the program. In addition, it also operates the T-Mobile Ventures investment fund and is a co-founder, alongside Intel and NASA, of the 5G Open Innovation Lab that opened in May 2020.

As part of Verizon’s efforts, the carrier launched 5G Labs in multiple cities across the country with focuses on specific verticals or applications, like public safety, entertainment, and AR/VR. Its first was the Verizon Open Innovation Lab in Ney York, opened in late 2017 that offered a co-working experience to startups and academics to test precommercial 5G technology.

AT&T has several programs, including the 5G Innovation Program started in 2019 and work at the AT&T Foundry and 5G Innovation Zones. In December AT&T paired up with Purdue College of Engineering to create a 5G R&D testbed.

Sprint in 2019 helped launch and headlined the grand opening of the Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, invited companies to test out early 5G and its IoT platform before the merger with T-Mobile.