Sprint tapped two 5G start-up companies to take part in its sixth annual Accelerator programme, aiming to develop ideas which will help it offer new products and services on its next generation network, which it plans to launch later this year.

Launched in 2014, the 90-day scheme provides mentorship, connections and other resources to fledgling companies from a variety of verticals to speed their growth.

The 2019 cohort includes Nodecraft, a cloud platform for online multiplayer gaming experiences; and Portl Media, which provides education and entertainment options on screens placed in shared taxis. Four agricultural technology and three dairy food products companies are also participating.

Bryan Fries, Sprint VP of 5G market strategy and global services, said in a statement the operator this year specifically put out a call for companies which had ideas to use its forthcoming 5G network to “transform industries such as mobile gaming, entertainment and transportation”.

Its selection of Nodecraft for the programme reflects a growing interest among operators in mobile gaming and e-sports as they try to pin down next-generation use cases.

In March, rival AT&T deepened its involvement in the segment, partnering with e-sports company ESL to launch a new mobile gaming league. Additionally, The Verge reported Verizon is testing its own 5G-based cloud gaming service.