Verizon announced it will start offering mobile 5G service in select parts of Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11, before expanding to more than 30 cities later this year.
Verizon said its 5G service plan is available as a $10 per month add-on to any of the carrier’s unlimited plans (though the fee will be waived for the first three months), with unlimited 5G data usage and no de-prioritization on the Motorola’s clip-on 5G moto mod.
Areas in Chicago that will see 5G coverage include the West and South Loop around landmarks such as Union Station, Willis Tower, The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and The Chicago Theatre. There will also be 5G service around the Verizon store on the Magnificent Mile and through the Gold Coast, Old Town and River North.
In Minneapolis, service will be concentrated in the Downtown West and East areas around landmarks including the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Minneapolis Central Library, the Mill City Museum, Target Center and First Avenue venues, The Commons, and U.S. Bank Stadium. The city will also have Verizon’s 5G service in parts of Elliot Park and at the Verizon store at Mall of America.
In conjunction with the service announcement, Verizon said it will begin pre-orders for the Motorola 5G moto mod Thursday (March 14), a clip-on module that pairs with the moto z3 making the smartphone 5G-capable. To purchase the 5G moto mod (which retails for about $350, but Verizon is offering for $50 for a limited time), customers must have an active moto z3 on their account or purchase a new one.
Verizon’s 5G service uses millimeter wave spectrum and the carrier noted the launches in Chicago and Minneapolis (along with all 5G services going forward) use the global 3GPP 5G NR standard. Verizon’s fixed wireless 5G Home broadband service launched in Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Indianapolis in October 2018 using the company’s Verizon Technical Forum standard.
Customers using the 5G moto mod attachment may be able to pick up a 5G signal outside of announced coverage locations, Verizon said, as the carrier continues to turn on new 5G small cells and test its 5G network.
In the frequently asked questions section of the Verizon website, the carrier notes that the 5G moto mod won’t connect to Verizon’s 5G Mobile network in the four initial 5G Home cities at launch “due to technical differences in network technologies.”
When not connected to 5G, the moto mod will switch to Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
“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 CTO Kyle Malady in a statement. “It will change the way we live, work, learn and play, starting in Chicago and Minneapolis and rapidly expanding to more than 30 U.S. markets this year.”