Verizon launches 5G service in Minneapolis, Chicago

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Instead, Verizon's 5G network is limited to select areas in those two cities for now. This component plugs into the back of the phone, adding a 5G radio to your 4G phone.

Verizon has turned on its first 5G smartphone service in the USA, going live a week earlier than expected, though subscribers will need a new device in order to actually access the swifter speeds.

Verizon said Wednesday it had turned on its ultrafast 5G wireless network in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis, though it will be available only to certain subscribers who pay a fee and own a compatible smartphone. These are dense areas of Chicago, including Magnificent Mile (specifically the Verizon store), Gold Coast, Old Town, River North, and portions of South Loop and West Loop. Officially, the network is only live in Chicago, Illinois, and in Minneapolis, Wisconsin.

Verizon Communications Inc beat rivals AT&T and Sprint in the race to launch the first fifth-generation mobile services in two cities in the United States at an additional cost of $10 for customers with existing unlimited plans.

As for Minneapolis, 5G coverage is concentrated in the following areas or places: Downtown, Downtown West, and Downtown East, the US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis Convention Center, the Minneapolis Central Library, the Mill City Museum, Target Center, First Avenue venues, The Commons, Elliot Park, and the Verizon store in The Mall of America.

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The early limitations on Verizon's 5G network reflect the nascent nature of the technology. CNET is in Chicago right now testing it with the Moto Z3.

AT&T Corp and Sprint Corp are also building their 5G networks and plan to release 5G smartphones with Samsung Electronics later this year.

We're going to continue to test the advent of 5G in Chicago this week, so stay tuned for updates on how the service functions for us and the top speeds we hit.

With plenty of holdings in the 28GHz and 39GHz millimeter wave spectrum, expect to see Verizon doing plenty of small 5G UWB rollouts throughout the rest of the year. Samsung is expected to release a 5G model through Verizon by June and other US carriers by the end of the year. "This is the latest in our string of 5G firsts".