SoftBank and Google parent tie up on flying 5G stations for phone services using balloons and drones

The Japan Times | April 25, 2019

SoftBank and Google parent tie up on flying 5G stations for phone services using balloons and drones
Mobile phone carrier SoftBank Corp. and Google LLC parent Alphabet Inc. said Thursday they will jointly set up airborne mobile phone base stations, using balloons and aircraft in the stratosphere, to cover wider areas for next-generation 5G wireless services. SoftBank’s year-old HAPSMobile and Alphabet’s Loon, which spun out last July from the research incubator of the Google parent, have been trying separately to fly networking equipment at high altitudes to provide high-speed internet in spots where ground-based towers are unreachable. Loon carries the gear with a large balloon, while HAPSMobile uses a large drone. Despite internet coverage gaps in rural areas or during natural disasters, mobile network operators, governments and other potential customers have yet to demonstrate much enthusiasm for buying airborne technologies. Also competing to fill the coverage gaps are several billionaire entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos. Each is backing separate early-stage ventures that want to beam internet from satellites in near-Earth orbit.

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There is an explosion in network demand, driven by ultramobile users who want the ability to access the cloud and consume high-definition content, video, and applications when and where they choose. This disruption of the network will only be exacerbated by the adoption of the Internet of Things (Io


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Spotlight

There is an explosion in network demand, driven by ultramobile users who want the ability to access the cloud and consume high-definition content, video, and applications when and where they choose. This disruption of the network will only be exacerbated by the adoption of the Internet of Things (Io

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