Here’s where Verizon’s faster network-Launch and Cost
Verizon had gone past its goal of launching 5G service in 30 cities this year by flipping the switch on its 31st city.
5G connectivity for smartphones is finally here, and Verizon was the wireless carrier to flip the switch first. But can it keep up the pace and expand upon the coverage that’s already launched?
CEO Hans Vestberg talks Verizon 5G plans at CES 2019.CEO Hans Vestberg talks Verizon 5G plans at CES 2019.
Back in April, Verizon 5G service arrived in a pair of cities, though Big Red has been expanding coverage to other areas throughout the year, meeting its goal of bringing 5G service to 30 cities in 2019 with a week to spare. Verizon also sells phones specifically built to take advantage of 5G’s faster speeds, after previously offering a phone that required a special accessory to connect to 5G.
A closer look on the current status of Verizon’s 5G efforts, along with the devices that work on the network, and where the carrier goes from here :
Cities: Where Verizon Starts There 5G Services
Verizon beat other carriers to the punch with a commercial 5G that serves smartphones. AT&T turned on 5G service in 12 cities at the end of 2018, but the only device that could connect to its network at the time was a 5G hotspot; it’s since added other cities plus a phone for select customers while launching a lower-speed 5G network in 10 cities that’s available to anyone with a 5G-ready phone. Sprint launched its network in May, bringing service to nine cities, while T-Mobile pushed out high-speed service in half-a-dozen cities at the end of June before launching its low-band 5G network that reaches 5,000 cities in December. (As we found when testing T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network, the speeds don’t approach what Verizon offers, but the reach is more extensive.)
Initially, Verizon offered service in just two cities — Chicago and Minneapolis — with the April 3 launch happening a week ahead of schedule. Verizon followed up those two early launches by adding 5G service to Denver in June, with Providence, Rhode Island, and St. Paul, Minnesota getting the faster network in July. By the end of that month, Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., had joined the mix. On Aug. 22, Indianapolis became the 10th city with 5G coverage from Verizon, with Phoenix joining the mix the next day. On Sept. 26, Verizon brought the service to the U.S.’s largest city, when 5G launched in New York City; Boise, Idaho, Panama City, Fla., Omaha, Neb. and Dallas, Texas, also now have 5G coverage. Since then, Verizon has added Boston, Houston, Los Angeles and two cities in Iowa (Sioux Falls and Des Moines) to hit the 20 city milestone.
How fast will Verizon 5G be?
Much of the hype around 5G is focusing on 1 Gbps download speeds, but Verizon was tamping down on that expectation when it first launched the service. Initially, the carrier promised average speeds of 450 Mbps, with an eye toward that speed increasing as its 5G network develops and improves. When launching service in Denver, Verizon did show off a picture of a phone breaking the 2 Gbps barrier, though you probably shouldn’t expect that kind of speed on a regular basis. At a demo in New York, we saw download speeds nearing 1.5 Gbps.
As for our testing, we routinely see Verizon’s 5G speeds trounce what you get from LTE. At a launch event at Verizon’s Chicago store on April 3, we saw download speeds reach 641 Mbps. And during our own April testing, we saw speeds near 600 Mbps (though in some cases speeds were closer to 300 Mbps). Things improved further once we got our hands on the Galaxy S10 5G, which Verizon is now selling; testing that phone, we occasionally saw speeds spike above 1 Gbps.
Verizon 5G speeds on the Galaxy S10 5G Verizon 5G speeds on the Galaxy S10 5G
For context, when we tested LTE speeds in Chicago in 2018, Verizon averaged a download speed of 85.8 Mbps, so even 400 Mbps speeds would be a huge jump.
Our tests with the Galaxy S10 5G proved more consistent. We could download an entire season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in a little more than 1 minute; it took a regular Galaxy S10 more than 10 minutes to download a single episode over LTE.
At this point, Verizon’s millimeter wave-based 5G network is almost entirely available outdoors. We had our best results when we were in view of one of Verizon’s 5G towers, though not directly underneath it.
Verizon’s first 5G phones
Verizon now offers multiple phones capable of connecting to its 5G network, even if a few of them aren’t strictly speaking 5G devices on their own.
5G Moto Mod5G Moto Mod
Those latter phones would be the Moto Z3, which came out in 2018 and features an older Snapdragon 835 chipset, and the new Moto Z4, which runs on a midrange Snapdragon 670 processor. Neither of those chipsets include a 5G modem, but attach a 5G Moto Mod to the back of either phone, and you’ll be to hop onto Verizon’s 5G network. The two-year-old Moto Z2 recently added 5G Moto Mod compatibility as well.