What just happened? Verizon this week announced a strategic collaboration with Amazon’s Project Kuiper to develop connectivity solutions for those in unserved and underserved communities. The wireless carrier aims to use Project Kuiper as a cellular backhaul solution to extend fixed 4G/LTE and 5G data networks to rural and remote communities across the US.
Amazon announced Project Kuiper in early 2019 as a constellation of more than 3,200 Internet-beaming satellites positioned in low Earth orbit around the planet. With it, Amazon aims to serve high-speed Internet to individuals and businesses in areas where connectivity is poor or non-existent, much like SpaceX is doing with its Starlink program.
Amazon earlier this year said it had purchased nine Atlas V launches to send the first batch of satellites into space. It doesn’t appear as though any launches have taken place as of this writing, but the FCC has given Amazon until July 2026 to have at least half of its satellites in orbit.
Rumors in the lead up to the iPhone 13’s debut suggested Apple had baked in the necessary hardware to support low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications. The idea was that, in the absence of traditional cell towers or during emergencies, users could tap into this backup network to place and receive calls.
Apple’s mid-September iPhone 13 event came and went with no mention of such feature, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the intelligence was bad. Perhaps Apple’s partners needed more time to get the infrastructure in place. Notably, this partnership between Verizon and Amazon wouldn’t operate like the rumored Apple system.
A timeline for the collaboration wasn’t provided, nor do we know the value of the agreement.