Verizon officially turned on what it’s billing as the world’s first 5G network today, initiating service in Los Angeles, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento.
Indeed, 5G networks have already been launched by smaller carriers in Qatar, Lesotho, Finland and Estonia, but Verizon is pushing the “first” angle hard in its marketing.
“The world’s first commercial 5G service is here,” said Ronan Dunne, president of Verizon Wireless, in a statement today. “We’ve formed incredible partnerships with many of the world’s leading technology companies, the international technical standards bodies, public officials, developers and our own customers to drive the 5G ecosystem forward, faster than most had predicted. And now, actual customers. It’s been an incredible journey...and we’re just at the starting line.”
Priced at $70 a month—$50 a month for existing Verizon wireless customers—the fixed wireless service will deliver peak broadband performance of 1 Gbps connection speeds, with 300 Mbps more typical, Verizon said.
The initial offering is enticing—Verizon isn’t charging for the first three months of service, and customers can choose between a free Apple TV 4K or a Google Chromecast dongle. Also thrown in: three months free of vMVPD service YouTube TV.
For Verizon, being first comes at a price. The operator is launching the service with professionally installed customer premises equipment built around its proprietary G TF standard.
Soon, however, when its vendors upgrade their hardware and software to the 3Gpp 5G NR standard, Verizon will have to turn around and upgrade everyone’s hardware, software, chipsets and devices to that technology, truck rolls included.
Customers can see if Verizon 5G Home service service is available in their area using the company’s FirstOn5G.com website. Verizon began taking preorders on September 13.