The race to 5G is on, and Verizon is the first out of the gate.
Yesterday, the wireless company officially turned on its 5G Ultra Wideband network in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis, where the 2019 Final Four games will be taking place. This earlier-than-anticipated launch has crowned Verizon the first carrier in the world to connect its wireless customers to a commercial 5G network. As of right now though, the only device compatible with the service is the 5G-enabled Motorola moto Z3 with the accompanying 5G moto mod accessory. Additional smartphone options are expected to come down the line, including the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, that will be able to withstand the power of 5G.
“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.”
Those in designated areas of Chicago and Minneapolis can expect their moto Z3 to reach peak speeds of up to 1Gbps with download speeds of 450 Mbps and latency reduced by 30 miliseconds. When users move out of these 5G areas, the moto mod will automatically transition to 4G LTE.
Verizon expects to expand their 5G services to more than 30 U.S. cities in 2019. They also revealed that their team of engineers and technology partners will be continuously working on improving the 5G Ultra Wideband speed, latency, and overall network performance. Regular updates are to be expected as they work through the early stages of the rapidly evolving technology.
The next question we’re all probably wondering is who will be next?
Sprint is set to launch their 5G service in May while T-Mobile still seems pretty up in the air about when they’ll go live with their 5G network. Then there’s South Korea, who lost the “world’s first commercial 5G mobile service” title by the skin of their teeth as their 5G network goes live tomorrow. Even so, we've cautioned against a rushed 5G service before, so maybe a slow and steady approach will really be what's best for certain carriers.