Verizon has flipped the switch on wireless 5G in Chicago and Minnesota, launching the service a week earlier than it had previously announced it would.
The move, which caught many by surprise, will give the customers who have 5G equipped phones access to wireless service with speeds of up to 1 Gps, roughly 10 times the peak speed of 4G.
“Verizon customers will be the first in the world to have the power of 5G in their hands,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon’s chairman and chief executive officer in a statement.
The number of people who can actually take advantage of that service will be limited at first. Only one phone on the market—the Motorola Z3—supports 5G. Later this year, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G model, which will be exclusive to Verizon customers for a short period, will join that club.
The 5G service launched today will be limited to certain areas of the cities, Verizon warned.
In Chicago, 5G coverage is concentrated in 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. Customers also have 5G Ultra Wideband service in the Verizon store on The Magnificent Mile and throughout The Gold Coast, Old Town and River North.