03 May 2019
Verizon has officially announced the availability of consumer-ready 5G network aka 5G Ultra Wideband (5G UWB) network in the United States. It is currently limited to specific locations within Chicago and Minneapolis. The release has happened one week ahead of the original schedule which seems to be the company's attempt at beating South Korean carriers.
With commercial rollout, Verizon is claiming that consumers can experience download speeds in the range of 450Mbps with a peak speed of about 1Gbps. The latency is said to be less than 30 milliseconds which is something cloud computing and online gaming users would be happy to know about. It further promises regular updates throughout the year to make 5G connectivity better.
If you are interested in experiencing Verizon 5G UWB connectivity, you will need to have a Moto Z3 smartphone (about $480) and the 5G Moto Mod (about $199). Next, you will need to pay an extra $10 per month on your current Verizon plan to get 5G connectivity from the carrier. Alternatively, you can use any other 5G-enabled smartphone that also works on Verizon.
Once you have both the specified hardware and 5G plan, you can head over to Verizon 5G coverage area to check out the blazing fast speeds. Chigao-based users can expect to catch a 5G signal in the 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. If you are in Minneapolis, you should be around the Downtown area, including Downtown West and Downtown East, as well as inside and around U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of this weekend’s NCAA men’s basketball Final Four and around landmarks like the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Minneapolis Central Library, the Mill City Museum, Target Center and First Avenue venues, The Commons, areas of Elliot Park.
Verizon has plans of expanding 5G connectivity to 30 U.S. cities within this year. Since these are early days, we would suggest not to get too excited. It will take some time for the technology to mature and become widely available. In the meantime, it is likely to be a case of hit and miss which means don't count on seeing the 5G UWB logo on your phone's status bar all the time. It will keep switching back to tried and tested 4G LTE more often than not.