Verizon says it has turned on its 5G network in Chicago, Illinois and Minneapolis, Minnesota a week ahead of schedule, and its customers will be able to access the network in those cities via the Moto z3 device with a special attachment. The launch comes just in time for the NCAA Final Four games this weekend in Minneapolis, and Verizon said it has 5G coverage “inside and around” U.S. Bank Stadium.
Verizon is claiming the combination of network and smartphone availability as a world-first, ahead of the launch this week of Samsung’s 5G-capable S10 device.
“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 CEO. “This is the latest in our string of 5G firsts.”
The z3 is already available, and the “mod” attachment that makes a 5G connection possible is now available as well, Verizon said. The z3 has a retail price of $480, although customers can get it for $10 per month paid over 24 months; and the mod is $200 with a retail price of $350. Verizon also said that 5G data usage with the moto mod is “unlimited with no data de-prioritization” — aka throttling. Customers have to have an active moto z3 smartphone and must subscribe to one of three Verizon unlimited plans.
Verizon said that its early 5G customers “should expect typical download speeds of 450 Mbps, with peak speeds of nearly 1 Gbps, and latency less than 30 milliseconds” and that it plans to continue with regular software updates and overall improvements at it continues work on the network through the rest of the year.
In Chicago, Verizon said that its 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. Customers also have 5G Ultra Wideband service in the Verizon store on The Magnificent Mile and throughout The Gold Coast, Old Town and River North.” However, the carrier also noted that its customers may sometimes see a 5G indicator on their phones when outside those official areas, as it adds new sites.
In Minneapolis, Verizon’s service is “concentrated in the downtown area, including Downtown West and Downtown East, as well as inside and around U.S. Bank Stadium” and around city landmarks including the Minneapolis Convention Center, the city’s 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, the operator said.
The z3 plus moto mod, which utilizes Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network and the 5G New Radio standard, won’t work with its existing 5G TF networks where it is delivering its 5G Home service in Los Angeles and Sacramento, California; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Houston, Texas. The device will fall back to LTE service when outside of 5G coverage areas.