Verizon launches 5G service in Minneapolis, Chicago

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Motorola had already teased release notes back in late January telling users what improvements to expect from the Pie OTA, such as network connectivity support for the 5G Moto Mod.

Although this makes Verizon and Motorola the first to 5G in the world, there's still the question of what that really means for all of us, the people using the the first 5G phone on the first 5G network - which is only available in parts of two U.S. cities.

The 5G service launched today will be limited to certain areas of the cities, Verizon warned.

In Chicago, Verizon said its 5G coverage is concentrated around the West Loop and the South Loop, typically around tourist attractions like the Willis Tower, Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park. Verizon 5G should be found around 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, the carrier promises.

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Of course, these tests are somewhat meaningless at this stage because there are so few connections to Verizon 5G. For now, the carrier is promising average speeds of 450 Mbps, with an eye toward that speed increasing as its 5G network develops and improves. Movies that take minutes to download on a phone using 4G will load up in the blink of an eye with 5G. Later this year, Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G model, which will be exclusive to Verizon customers for a short period, will join that club.

Verizon is using its 28GHz and 39GHz millimeter wave spectrum for the service. After that, postpaid customers on any Verizon unlimited plan - including Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, or Above Unlimited - will pay $10 extra per month for unlimited 5G data. As we reported last month, the initial plan was to launch 5G in those two markets on April 11th, but the service is live for subscribers right now.

This is one more step on Verizon's path to roll out 5G mobile and home internet nationwide.

AT&T now offers 5G service in 12 cities, with plans to add another 9 in 2019. As for T-Mobile, it's planning to make a 5G push in the second half of the year.

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