Verizon isn’t typically an E3 headliner, but the telecom giant recently leveraged the buzz around the virtual Electronic Entertainment Expo to spotlight why gamers should care about its offerings. Verizon has pledged to spend $10 billion over the next few years to build out its 5G infrastructure, and that massive expense necessitates customer growth. Gamers remain highly desirable because of their entertainment consumption and spending behaviors, and it makes sense that Verizon would be targeting this valuable demographic.
Verizon talked about the ability of its network to power cloud gaming experiences, as well as AR-focused entertainment such as what it’s partnering on with Pokemon GO developer Niantic. Capitalizing on the mobile gaming boom, the wireless carrier is also offering new and existing customers an option for six months of free Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass service if consumers sign up for any unlimited data plan, or they can snag 12 months free with Verizon’s “Play More” or “Get More” plans.
Esports remains a big part of the company’s gaming mission as well. Verizon continues to work with Riot Games on Valorant and the Verizon VCT Game Changers initiative to bolster female representation in gaming, and it’s partnered with teams like Dignitas and Team Liquid. In addition, Verizon has teamed with publisher Electronic Arts to optimize Madden NFL Mobile for 5G technology.
Verizon isn’t the only carrier looking to subsidize its 5G investment through gamers. AT&T is hoping to attract more customers by offering six months of Google Stadia to its 5G and fiber subscribers. Verizon has been more active than its competitors in the gaming space recently, but the company still trails AT&T in the US by a slim margin. While 25% of gamers use AT&T as their primary phone service provider, Verizon sits at 23%, while the combination of T-Mobile and Sprint accounts for 22% (T-Mobile at 16% individually).