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Verizon will preinstall Snapchat on some of its 5G phones

Verizon will preinstall Snapchat on some of its 5G phones


And it’ll create augmented reality lenses for 5G

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The Snapchat white ghost logo on a bright yellow background.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Verizon and Snap are partnering up to spread the gospel of 5G through Snapchat. The companies announced their joint effort today, which will involve Verizon preloading Snapchat onto some of its 5G phones. Snap will give Verizon ad placement in its Snap Originals programming, and it will also work with Verizon’s 5G Labs to build augmented reality experiences for live events and Verizon marketing activations.

The Gen Z-oriented Snapchat might seem like a mismatch for the extremely bland Verizon brand — especially given that the initial 5G rollout has been heavily focused on enterprise uses — but that might be exactly why Verizon wants to team up with Snap. It offers a way to show off its tech without having to point to faster connections for medical or business use cases. Nearly everyone understands a Snapchat filter, so if the team can actually devise AR that takes advantage of a faster 5G network, it’ll make the marketing message more concrete and potentially encourage people to switch to Verizon for a better filter experience.

For its part, Snap has made AR a critical focus. In its most recent earnings call, the company laid out its plan for AR, which will culminate in connected glasses that can place a digital world over the physical one. A 5G connection might actually make that a more feasible possibility, as it’s easy to imagine a bad network making the glasses feel clunky and slow. Partnering up with Verizon might give Snap more of a head start on the networking side of wearables.