Facebook and AT&T team up for augmented reality experiences

AT&T made a slew of 5G announcements, including a Boingo partnership for airport networks.

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SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA - MAY 17: A sign is posted in front of an AT&T retails store on May 17, 2021 in San Rafael, California. AT&T,  the world’s largest telecommunications company, announced a deal with Discovery, Inc. which will spin off AT&T's WarnerMedia and be combined with Discovery to create a new standalone media company. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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AT&T and Facebook Reality Labs are joining forces to work on "collaborative video calling" as well as augmented reality experiences in Facebook’s apps. They're using Spark AR, a platform from Facebook that powers AR experiences across devices and the company's apps.

Their first AR collaboration is a promo for Space Jam: A New Legacy. Using your phone, you can bring Lola Bunny, Daffy Duck and Tweety into your space via a website, AT&T's Instagram profile or Facebook. You can use the front or rear camera to take a picture with them or create a video with a custom intro from Bugs Bunny. AT&T says its 5G network can boost the "performance and reliability for each AR experience," with the help of more vivid graphics and shorter load times.

The Facebook partnership is one of a slew of 5G collaborations that AT&T will discuss at an event on Wednesday. The provider has partnered with Boingo to bring 5G+ (aka millimeter wave 5G) to airports across the US, including John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles Airport and Denver International Airport. They plan to roll out 5G+ in seven airports this year and 25 by the end of 2022 with the aim of reducing network congestion. AT&T, which suggests you might use the network to quickly download a bunch of TV show episodes right before a flight, has already switched on 5G at Tampa International Airport.

AT&T has also teamed up with an app called Bookful for 5G-powered AR reading experiences with characters from kids' books leaping out of the screen. In addition, it's working with Warner Bros., Ericsson, Qualcomm, Dreamscape and Wevr on a proof-of-concept Harry Potter virtual reality experience called Chaos at Hogwarts.

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