© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Apple logo is seen at an Apple Store in Brooklyn, New York

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Apple Inc (O:) and Verizon Communications (N:) on Thursday announced a program in which Verizon will subsidize the replacement of corporate customers’ entire fleet of smartphones with any of Apple’s iPhone 12 models.

Verizon Business, the corporate-focused arm of Verizon running the program, and Apple did not provide financial details of the arrangement, which applies to Apple’s first family of phones with 5G networking capabilities. The companies said the “Fleet Swap” program can be used to replace a business’ corporate-owned devices from Verizon or other carriers at “zero upfront cost, with zero to low cost per month.”

Unlike previous generations of networks, 5G networks come in different varieties, including a kind known as millimeter wave that can be used to provide coverage inside buildings such as corporate campuses or factories that are difficult to address with other technologies such as WiFi. The newer 5G technology also allows for private networks for businesses.

Verizon Business is hoping to sell those services to businesses for new applications, such as factory floors outfitted with sensor-equipped machinery that generates data to better track production processes. Verizon said on Thursday that it was working with General Motors Co (N:) and Honeywell International (N:) to deploy 5G networks at a GM factory in Detroit and Honeywell’s headquarters in North Carolina.

“What this allows us to do is create an infrastructure that becomes a playground for chief information officers as they build their digital roadmap,” Tami Erwin, chief executive officer of Verizon Business, told Reuters in an interview.

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