T-Mobile has been developing drones since 2015, using them in their network for delivery services and infrastructure inspection. They have also been working with the Small UAV Coalition as well as being active in various FAA committees and programs concerning drone policy and technology.
T-Mobile now sees 5G as a way to expand the use cases of drones, such as for emergency response. The Un-Carrier wants to put miniature cell sites on drones to enable line-of-sight and non-light-of-sight connectivity as well as give the ability to fly in temporary cellular connectivity.
One company, Unmanned Life is developing autonomous drones to disinfect public places and deliver medical supplies. In the retail space, T-Mobile hopes to use drone delivery to expand contactless shopping.
The Un-Carrier sees their expanding 5G network and low latency as a way to engender drone development and drone services and transform many facets of our society. One of these facets is sports. They are working with the Drone Racing League to use 5G to power their racing drones as part of T-Mobile Ventures, giving the DRL direct access to T-Mobile’s network and engineering expertise, as well as infrastructure and investment.
You can read more about T-Mobile’s 5G goals here and how they are working with the Drone Racing League here.