Verizon begins rolling out its 5G wireless network for smartphones

Verizon on Wednesday announced that it has turned on its 5G wireless network in two markets, including Chicago and Minneapolis, that will work with next-generation of connected gadgets.

This network complements Verizon’s existing “5G Home” service which launched in October in select areas and is a wireless alternative to a traditional cable-based home internet connection, but does not work far beyond the walls of your home. Verizon said the wireless network will give customers access to peak speeds up to 1Gbps. That’s about 10x faster than you might traditionally find on a nationwide LTE network. Put plainly: you’ll be able to download movies in seconds instead of minutes.

Only a select number of phones will support the network at first. Samsung will launch a Galaxy S10 5G model during the beginning of the second half of this year that will be exclusive to Verizon until AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint begin to sell it during the end of the second half. That leaves the Motorola Z3 as the only phone that will support the network, and it requires a separate accessory to work on it.

T-Mobile and Sprint are planning to roll out 5G later this year but neither of the companies, which are still in the midst of a merger, has activated 5G yet.

AT&T’s 5G+ network, the branding it’s using for its 5G coverage, is available in 12 markets. The company says it will increase that coverage throughout the year. AT&T has been marketing its new network by switching on a new indicator on phones that says “5GE,” but this does not actually add 5G service to the devices, which still operate at 4G speeds.

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