Verizon 5G ramps up for April launch

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AOL just got bought by the king of mobile.
AOL just got bought by the king of mobile.
Photo: Verizon

Well behind arch-rival AT&T, Verizon will begin rolling out its 5G wireless network in two cities early in April.

This is the carrier’s first step in having this faster replacement for LTE available in 30 cities by the end of the year.

Verizon 5G almost here

“Not all 5G networks are the same. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is built by the company with the nation’s best and most reliable 4G LTE network,” said Verizon’s chief technology officer, Kyle Malady, in a statement. “It will change the way we live, work, learn and play.”

This service will debut on “select areas” of Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11. The rollout will continue for years to come.

Verizon’s updated mobile network uses the 5G NR (New Radio) standard being adopted by other carriers around the U.S. and the world. It runs over the company’s millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, which offers faster connections but shorter range than rival implementations.

Verizon didn’t make any commitments about speed increases subscribers can expect from this new technology.   Experts predict that, in real world use not lab tests, downloads and uploads will be approximately 10 times faster.

The carrier is being upfront about the extra fees required: accessing 5G will set subscribers back $10 a month.

Rival AT&T already has 5G in a handful of U.S. cities and plans to add to the list this year. T-Mobile is also planning to have 5G in 30 cities by the end of 2019, despite having little mmWave spectrum. Sprint expects to start its rollout of this faster tech in May.

Bring on the 5G devices

In conjunction with the rollout of Verizon 5G will come the debut of a 5G Moto Mod add-on for the Motorola Z3. Later there’ll be the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and LG’s V50 ThinQ.

These are al Androids. While there a small possibility of a 5G iPhone this fall, it’s more likely this device won’t be but before 2020 thanks to ongoing court battles between Apple and modem-maker Qualcomm.

Apple’s situation is far from desperate. It’s likely 5G access won’t be broadly available until 2022.