US mobile giant Verizon Wireless switched on its ‘5G Ultra Wideband’ network in select areas of Minneapolis and Chicago on 3 April – a week ahead of schedule – as it sought to secure global bragging rights over South Korea’s mobile operators. Hans Vestberg, Verizon’s chairman and CEO claimed that the switch-on represented ‘the world’s first commercial 5G mobile service with a 5G-enabled smartphone’; the launch occurred a matter of hours before South Korea’s three incumbent mobile operators activated their respective 5G mobile networks.
The 5G smartphone in question is the moto z3 combined with 5G moto mod. Verizon’s 5G service plan is available for a USD10 per month surcharge and comes with unlimited data; the 5G upgrade can be applied to any existing Verizon unlimited plan. The network supports theoretical download speeds of up to 1Gbps, although users should expect typical speeds of around 450Mbps.
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. In Minneapolis, service is concentrated in the Downtown area, including Downtown West and Downtown East and Elliot Park.