Verizon has turned on its superfast 5G mobile network in 2 cities, and there's actually a phone you can buy right now to use with it

  • Verizon on Wednesday turned on its mobile 5G network, promising significantly faster speeds than the 4G LTE networks we’ve been using so far.
  • For now, only one phone can connect to Verizon’s 5G network: the Motorola Moto Z3, which needs a “Moto Mod” attachment to connect to it.
  • The only other 5G-compatible phone expected to arrive in the US soon is the SamsungGalaxy S10 5G, which is scheduled to arrive in the first half of this year as a temporary exclusive to Verizon.
  • AT&T has already activated its own 5G network, but there are no phones that support it yet.

Verizon has officially turned on its mobile 5G network in Minneapolis and Chicago.

Verizon promises that its 5G network delivers speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. Those speeds are significantly faster than those of the 4G LTE network we’ve most recently been using to browse the web, stream videos and music, and lurk on social media.

To put Verizon’s 5G speed claim into perspective, I’m lucky to get about 20 megabits per second – 2% the speed of 1 gigabit per second – on Verizon’s 4G LTE network in and around New York City.

For now, the only phone that can connect to Verizon’s fifth-generation network in Minneapolis and Chicago is the $US480 Motorola Moto Z3, which requires a separate $US350 5G “Moto Mod” that attaches to the back of the Z3 smartphone to let the phone connect to Verizon’s 5G network.

Moto z3 Motorola

Verizon is selling the Moto Z3 for a discounted $US240 and the 5G modification for a discounted $US200. Verizon says the 5G mod for the Z3 will be available to buy starting Wednesday.

More 5G-capable smartphones are expected later this year. The $US1,200 Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is set to arrive in the first half of 2019 as a Verizon exclusive. It’s expected to be available on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint in the second half of 2019.

The LG V50 that supports 5G networks is also expected to be released in the US, but there’s no release date yet.

AT&T has an active 5G network in 12 cities that it calls “5G Plus,” which is supposedly faster than AT&T’s regular 5G network, which hasn’t yet rolled out. AT&T’s 5G and 5G Plus shouldn’t be confused with its “5G E” network, which is simply a renamed version of its 4G LTE Advanced Pro network that most recent smartphones can connect to.

Unfortunately for AT&T customers, AT&T doesn’t yet sell a phone that can actually connect to its 5G Plus network. That’s set to change when the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G is made available to AT&T customers.

T-Mobile says its 5G network is expected to roll out “this year,” while Sprint says its 5G network will be available in May this year starting with availability in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City, and Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington D.C. in the first half of 2019. Sprint has devices from LG and HTC that will support its 5G network, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G from Samsung.

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