T-Mobile US pledged to unshackle 5G innovation by announcing a new developer platform, a new innovation hub, new venture investments, new start-up accelerator participants and a new partnership with The Walt Disney Company.

President of technology Neville Ray presented the moves yesterday (23 March), stating 5G developer innovation would never flourish if operators don’t get out of the way.

T-Mobile is trying to get consumers and businesses interested in 5G beyond the faster speeds by erecting a bigger tent for developers.

Under the branding of 5G Forward, it announced a platform designed to make it easier for developers to create relevant services by connecting to a range of devices on T-Mobile’s network

The DevEdge platform also provides access to an array of certified modules, chipsets and devices to cut developers’ costs and improve time-to-market.

It houses APIs and open-source projects covering app and device performance insights. Developers can collaborate with each other and access real-time support from T-Mobile network experts.

T-Mobile is also working on developer kits.

Ray explained the first 1,000 developers to sign up to DevEdge will get these for free when they become available later this year.

“The truth is 5G developer innovation has been underwhelming so far,” Ray said.

T-Mobile also unveiled its Tech Experience 5G Hub, located next to its National Technology Lab.

The 24,000 square-foot building offers access to all 5G spectrum bands, edge compute resources, network slicing and private network installations. It also offers hardware production tools and a zone for application testing.

Additions to the T-Mobile Accelerator programme were also announced, with the company becoming lead North America 5G partner for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform, along with partnerships with parent Deutsche Telekom, Beem Global, VictoryXR, Mawari, Volucap and Immersiv.io covering AR applications.

Ray said funding arm T-Mobile Ventures invested in SignalWire, which works with developers to create voice, video and messaging APIs, and Spectro Cloud, described as a Kubernetes enterprise management platform.

T-Mobile also formed a new five-year partnership with Disney Studios’ StudioLAB to develop advanced storytelling capabilities. Ray explained the collaboration would cover content production and interactive viewing experiences.

The operator also expanded a relationship with energy drinks company Red Bull to deliver simultaneous multi-stream fan experiences using 5G cameras mounted to athletes’ helmets.