Verizon, Audi team up to bring 5G to car lineup

Verizon exec outlines how consumers will feel the difference of having access to 5G in cars

TJ Fox, SVP of Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) and Automotive for Verizon Business, and Filip Brabec, SVP of product management at Audi of America, discussed the collaboration to bring 5G to the automaker’s U.S. lineup, expected to begin with select 2024 models. 

The executives revealed the developments in an exclusive interview on "Mornings with Maria" on Wednesday, noting that 5G will provide the ability to "have the speed, the latency [and] the capacity to have an always-on connected experience" within a vehicle.

Fox noted that 5G will allow Audi to be able to "continually update that vehicle and make it better, stronger and faster than the day it came off the line." 

He also noted that the experience in the vehicle for the consumer and the safety aspects of the car "will continue to improve" with the move to 5G. 

Fifth-generation, or 5G, technology is the world's latest development in wireless phone service since 4G became the global standard starting around 2009. Before 4G, there was 3G, 2G, and so on.

With each new generation of wireless technology comes updated infrastructure and technological developments in terms of what that wireless service can achieve within a select time frame. 5G is expected to help artificial intelligence technology become more advanced and useful in our everyday lives.

Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband will offer more than 100 million people in more than 1,700 different cities across the country access to speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G, according to the company

Verizon Communications Chief Marketing Officer Diego Scotti argued earlier this month during an interview on "Mornings with Maria" that the company’s 5G home and business Internet is a "breakthrough product," which will "disrupt the industry."

Calling the product a "game-changer" during the interview, Scotti stressed that 5G is the "future of growth for Verizon."

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On Tuesday, Fox told host Maria Bartiromo that 5G is "going to change everything," whether it’s on your phone or in vehicles.

He also argued that as Audi moves more into the electric vehicle space, 5G will be an important component. 

Verizon’s deal with Audi marks the company’s "first agreement with a global premium automaker for 5G-enabled automobiles," a news release noted, pointing out that the automaker has a long history with connectivity-enabled technologies, including being the first Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to provide in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspots.

The collaboration will provide the speed and telecommunication architecture needed for personalized and augmented mobile services, new driver-assistance features and connectivity-enabled innovations for the automated future of driving, according to Verizon.

The company noted that 5G will allow passengers to download or stream entertainment at higher speeds and with better quality than before and that navigation systems will be enhanced with HD/3D mapping and video among other features. 


"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," Verizon Business CEO Tami Erwin said in a statement. 

Brabec noted in a news release that "Audi was the first automaker to bring in-vehicle Wi-Fi to customers as well as 4G LTE connectivity in the 2015 A3, and we will be among the first to bring the next generation of connectivity to our customers in the U.S." 

Speaking with Bartiromo on Tuesday, Brabec stressed that the opportunities "are really endless if you consider entertainment, if you consider connecting with other people if you consider updating vehicles."

"It is going to get to that next level and our consumers are definitely demanding that. So we are going to be ready, and we’re going to be in the lead position," he continued, speaking of the partnership with Verizon. 

The new release noted that Verizon is aggressively expanding its 5G network and Fox pointed out on Tuesday that the company launched its 5G Ultra Wideband network in the United States a few weeks ago to 90 million customers nationwide and now that number grew to more than 100 million. 

Fox and Brabec also addressed the ongoing global chip shortage on Tuesday with Fox saying the situation has not impacted Verizon. 

Brabec, however, acknowledged that the car company is feeling the impact of the shortage, which is due to supply problems and a surge in demand for consumer electrical products during the pandemic. He noted that the situation continues to prove "challenging in the automotive business," which has hit the auto industry hard as millions of vehicles globally were not being produced because important parts were hard to come by. 

"We keep focusing on working with our suppliers and coming up with the best possible solution," he told Bartiromo. "It’s still going to be tough, I think, for the next few months, but we obviously continue to work through that, and we’re hoping for a better second half of this year."

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Car manufacturers have had to get creative to deal with the global shortage of semiconductors, Reuters reported, noting that that includes buying computer chips directly from manufacturers, reconfiguring cars or producing them with parts missing. 


In fact, GM confirmed in November that the company is removing the heated seat option from several 2022 models to help conserve its supply of semiconductor chips for more critical components and increase the number of complete vehicles it is able to produce.


FOX Business’ Gary Gastelu contributed to this report.