In Our Immersive Sports Era, Fast and Reliable 5G Connectivity is Gold

By Mike Sievert, CEO of T-MobileNovember 21, 2023

Las Vegas is anything but understated. The entertainment capital of the world, it’s known for over-the-top experiences. So, it’s only fitting that the Un-carrier dreamed BIG … and delivered even bigger to pull out all the stops as the exclusive wireless provider during last week’s Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix.

I love speed and precision engineering. You know this already from my posts about my flight with the Blue Angels in their legendary diamond formation during the Seafair Airshow in Seattle! Here on the ground, F1 is the epitome of speed and precision engineering. In fact, the cars we drive every day, including our electric cars, tap into F1 technology for inspiration. It makes perfect sense. For decades, F1 has been captivating audiences around the world with incredible technology, including — for the first time ever — unparalleled 5G connectivity from T-Mobile in Las Vegas.

As one of the biggest brands in the country creating incredible experiences for consumers and businesses, we’re drawn to the allure of F1 — as are millions of spectators. In fact, the 2022 season became the first in U.S. television history to average 1 million or more viewers per race. And with THREE F1 races in the U.S in 2023 — more than any country! — many expect the fan base, which includes more female and younger viewers than ever before, to continue climbing. At a time when sports fans are more engaged than ever — 60% of Gen Zers in a recent Deloitte survey said they were more of a fan today than they were three years ago — it’s up to companies like ours to grow and evolve the immersive experiences we offer.

Yet F1 fans around the world know that connectivity at races had historically been lacking due to the sheer number of people on a network at once in a concentrated area. But the best part about what happened in Vegas? We didn't just plaster the T-Mobile name all over the place. We answered loud and clear to the connectivity needs of those at the event. In addition, we powered the Las Vegas Grand Prix Pit Building - the new Formula 1 headquarters in North America - with our 5G Advanced Network Solutions (ANS) and enabled a dedicated network slice that flawlessly powered race commercial operations without being affected by the public network.

T-Mobile 5G enhanced fan experiences as well. In the past, people could barely fathom what it would look, sound and feel like to experience a 3.8-mile F1 circuit with speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour smack dab in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip. Partnering with the Las Vegas Grand Prix, we changed that.

Together, we created an amazing app to spotlight everything happening at an F1 event. 5G-connected cameras captured 360-degree high-definition views so users — from anywhere! — could experience life in the driver’s seat. Whether through our 5G hybrid network, interactions on the app, or live entertainment at the T-Mobile Zone at Sphere, there was something in it for everyone. We wanted spectators (in-person and virtual), staff, race teams, businesses and those who call the area home to have what they wanted … when and where they wanted it … how they wanted to consume it. It’s 2023, and people’s expectations of connectivity are at an all-time high. And nobody delivers instant and uninterrupted access to connectivity, across vast geographic spaces, better than T-Mobile.

Last week in Las Vegas, I caught up with CNBC’s Sara Eisen to talk about why brands are taking advantage of the rapid growth of F1 racing. She studied the phenomenon in her new documentary, “Inside Track: The Business of Formula 1,” which is fantastic! I shared that despite the perception of the sport attracting high-end customers, the Un-carrier has always stood for being accessible and affordable for all. Sure, some pay thousands to catch live F1 action, but tickets to T-Mobile Zone at Sphere (the largest section at the race) were more accessible to wide audiences. And in addition to an unbelievable view of the track, we threw in extra perks for customers — a thing we tend to do at the Un-carrier — like drinks, great track views, and music at our exclusive “Club Magenta” at the track.

As a business leader, what I see as the most promising aspect of this type of sponsorship is that it showcases to the nation’s enterprise and organizational decision-makers what T-Mobile’s 5G network can uniquely do — and with any luck, we’ve inspired them to rethink their connectivity needs.

Outside of the fast-paced fun and LED lights of Vegas — which, by the way, will benefit from permanent 5G upgrades across the city — F1 attendees can count on T-Mobile as THE wireless provider at the Las Vegas Grand Prix through 2025. And we can’t wait to power other big sports experiences with our advanced 5G with partners like Major League Baseball, the PGA of America and Sail GP. Immersive fan experiences are just one of the many benefits as T-Mobile works to advance connectivity for Americans every day. Because as you know, We Won’t Stop!