Today, Verizon officially turned on its 5G Ultra Wideband network in select areas of Minneapolis and Chicago a week ahead of schedule.
The company's ustomers can access a commercial 5G network with the world’s first commercially available 5G-enabled smartphone, the moto z3 combined with 5G moto mod. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network promises to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbps.
“Verizon customers will be the first in the world to have the power of 5G in their hands," said Hans Vestberg, Verizon’s chairman and chief executive officer. “This is the latest in our string of 5G firsts. Verizon launched the first commercial broadband 5G service last October, Verizon 5G Home, and now we’re lighting up our 5G Ultra Wideband network in Chicago and Minneapolis, providing the world’s first commercial 5G mobile service with a 5G-enabled smartphone.”
While select areas of Chicago and Minneapolis will be the first to experience Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband mobility service, Verizon announced plans in February to launch its 5G service in more than 30 U.S. cities in 2019.
Verizon says that early customers in Chicago and Minneapolis should expect typical download speeds of 450 Mbps, with peak speeds of nearly 1 Gbps, and latency less than 30 milliseconds. The company expects regular improvement in 5G Ultra Wideband speed, latency and overall network performance as the company continues to upgrade the network.
However, do not expect to have 5G coverage everywhere. In Chicago, 5G coverage is concentrated in areas of the West Loop and the South Loop, around landmarks like Union Station, Willis Tower, The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park and The Chicago Theatre. There will be also 5G Ultra Wideband service in the Verizon store on The Magnificent Mile and throughout The Gold Coast, Old Town and River North.
In Minneapolis, service is concentrated in the Downtown area, including Downtown West and Downtown East, as well as inside and around U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of this weekend’s NCAA men’s basketball Final Four. Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service is also available around landmarks like the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Minneapolis Central Library, the Mill City Museum, Target Center and First Avenue venues, The Commons, areas of Elliot Park and in the Verizon store in The Mall of America.
When a Verizon customer moves outside Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband coverage area, the 5G moto mod hands off the signal to Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
Get the world’s first 5G-enabled smartphone today
For those not familiar with the moto z3 with 5G moto mod, the mod snaps to the back of a compatible Motorola z3 smartphone and costs $199.99 ($349.99 retail). Verizon postpaid customers with any Verizon unlimited plan, including Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited or Above Unlimited plan, get unlimited 5G data for an additional $10 per month (with the first three months of 5G data for free).
To buy a 5G moto mod, you must either have an active moto z3 on your account or purchase a moto z3 at the same time as the 5G moto mod. You can also get a moto z3 for $10 a month for 24 months on Verizon’s device payment plan ($480 retail; 0% APR) if you add a new line or upgrade online.
Manufacturers including Motorola and Samsung are expected to deliver more 5G phones later this year. Apple is sitting out the race this year and is expected to hold off on introducing a 5G iPhone until at least 2020.