Verizon, Meta strike deal to explore 5G metaverse

The metaverse is knocking and Verizon is answering the door.

In a new deal with Meta, which Verizon described as a “first-of-its-kind” strategic partnership, the two companies are exploring a range of metaverse opportunities. 

During the lead-up to 5G, a lot of talk focused on how 5G networks will support things that aren’t yet even imaginable today, similar to what LTE did with the likes of Uber and Airbnb. The talk about the metaverse sounds similar, only 10 or 100 times bigger.

This isn't new to Verizon. It was talking about the metaverse a couple years ago and more recently suggested there can be more than one metaverse from which to choose.

According to Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer at Verizon, the metaverse will create virtual spaces that are more immersive and realistic than ever before, providing new ways for people to connect across work, home and play over the next decade. 

“This [partnership] is to understand the foundational requirements for the metaverse and its applications,” she said in announcing the relationship during Verizon’s analyst day in New York on Thursday. “Our collaboration with Meta will explore how Verizon’s MEC infrastructure can deliver intensive XR cloud rendering and low latency streaming.”

In addition, some features of the metaverse will require that cloud computing infrastructure move closer to end users. “Our efforts will enable both companies to measure the impact of edge computing on key application performance metrics and evaluate where our network capabilities can enable more powerful metaverse-optimized applications,” she said. “With complementary capabilities, Meta and Verizon are building the foundation of the metaverse.”

Meta’s grand plan

Earlier this week, Meta appealed to telecom operators gathering in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2022. The company invited operators to join in a collaboration to create the networks to support the metaverse – networks that will need to be innovative in the fields of edge computing, video compression and remote real-time rendering.

RELATED: Meta’s Zuckerberg drums up support for metaverse as MWC 2022 kicks off

Preparations also require readiness in the areas of cellular standards, spectrum policies and improved latency between devices and within radio access networks (RANs), according to Meta Connectivity’s Dan Rabinovitsj.

In Spain, Meta is working with Telefónica to establish a Madrid-based Metaverse Innovation Hub to help accelerate metaverse network and device readiness through trials, use cases and device testing.