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Verizon just announced a partnership with Boingo to solve its biggest 5G problem

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Can Boingo help Verizon crack indoor 5G service?

Verizon’s 5G service is ultra fast, but due to the nature of the mmWave technology it’s using, service from traditional outdoor cell towers tends to vanish indoors. Today, the carrier announced its plan to solve that: a partnership with Boingo Wireless (best known for providing Wi-Fi in a number of airports around the world) to get 5G to work better indoors.

According to the announcement, Verizon plans to leverage Boingo’s experience with “distributed antenna systems (DAS), small cells and Wi-Fi” to expand its 5G service indoors and to public spaces like airports, stadiums, hotels, and more. To that end, the two companies are apparently working on a “hyper-dense network” for those indoor spaces, although that’s all the detail Verizon’s offering at this time.

Is this any different than offering branded Wi-Fi where it can offload 5G? It sounds a bit like “5G-branded” Wi-Fi to me. But even if details are slim, it’s good to see that Verizon is working to solve the indoor 5G issue. And Boingo’s experience in getting Wi-Fi across massive airport terminals seems like it could help achieve that.

In related 5G news, Verizon has announced that it’s rolling out its service to parts of Phoenix starting on August 23rd, making it the 10th 5G city for the carrier. (It joins Washington DC, Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Providence, and St. Paul.) That said, expect 5G coverage in Phoenix to be limited to just a few popular areas of the city, rather than the broader area that the LTE network reaches.