One day after confirming that it will be the first carrier to offer Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G phone, Verizon today announced that it will launch its mobile 5G network in over 30 U.S. cities during 2019. The announcement represents the first quantification of the carrier’s 5G expansion plans after it debuted a pre-standards 5G network in October 2018.
Currently, Verizon is not confirming the list of cities, but two clusters are virtually certain to be included: four cities where the carrier is already offering home 5G broadband service, and three additional cities that were included on a recent list of 5G educational contest winners. That would make Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, and Sacramento the most likely initial candidates.
As previously reported, Verizon is referring to its combined home and mobile 5G offering as the “5G Ultra Wideband Network,” and focusing substantially on the high-bandwidth, low-latency potential of millimeter wave radio spectrum. In an interview with VentureBeat at CES, Verizon network engineering VP Mike Haberman indicated that the company’s goal was to offer 5G performance superior to its rivals, even if that meant relying on numerous high-speed small cells rather than larger but slower cellular towers.
That strategy has created both engineering and political challenges for the carrier. After launching 5G Home in reportedly small parts of four cities, the carrier paused its rollout to wait for standards-compliant 5G hardware releases. It has also asked for customer assistance in efforts to convince local officials to hasten 5G deployments, as each of the small cells needs to be approved for a specific location by a city or town.
Verizon has confirmed three upcoming mobile devices for the 5G network: the aforementioned Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Motorola’s Moto Z3 with the 5G Moto Mod, and an Inseego MiFi 5G NR Mobile Hotspot. It is already offering home 5G broadband service using components from Inseego and Samsung.
Pricing and guaranteed mobile data speeds for the 5G network have not yet been announced. However, Verizon is currently offering unlimited 5G home service for $50 to $70 per month, with a “typical” broadband rate of 300Mbps and peak of 1Gbps; the speeds are expected to continue increasing throughout 2019.