Verizon’s 5G launch cities are about to hit double-digits, with the carrier’s millimeter wave (mmWave) mobile 5G service coming to Phoenix on Friday.
Phoenix marks Verizon’s tenth 5G city since April, joining Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Providence, St. Paul and Washington, D.C.
As in other cities, the 5G Ultra Wideband mobile service will only be available in select areas. Parts of Greater Phoenix where users can connect to Verizon’s 5G include landmarks such as the Phoenix Convention Center, Talking Stick Resort Arena, The Orpheum Theatre, CityScape, and Chase Field. It will also be available on the Arizona State University Campus in Tempe, Arizona.
Verizon’s 5G service, which uses mmWave spectrum in the 28 GHz band, appears to be super-speedy where it will be available in Phoenix. A Verizon-run speed test performed in a video accompanying the announcement clocked 5G download speeds of 1.6 Gbps in downtown Phoenix.
Speaking at an investor conference in early August, Ronan Dunne, EVP and CEO of Verizon’s consumer business differentiated mmWave 5G from 5G that uses lower spectrum bands, saying “not all 5G is created equal.”
He noted that the more bandwidth available the more 5G features and capabilities can be achieved. Dunne noted that a large majority of the volume of data carried Verizon’s networks are in dense urban areas like where Verizon’s mmWave 5G is first available. He said coverage is significantly less than half of customers in terms of population in these areas, but much greater than 50% from a data traffic standpoint.
“When it comes to the ability to use 5G as a significant capacity enhancement, there’s more of an opportunity to leverage that in the urban areas,” Dunne said, adding the lower down in spectrum bands 5G goes, service will “approximate to a good 4G service,” and not deliver blazing speeds as seen with mmWave.
The Verizon speed test in Phoenix was run using Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. The latest 5G smartphone arrives at Verizon tomorrow, coinciding with the Phoenix 5G network launch. Samsung’s new 5G device is exclusive to Verizon for a period of time and retails at $1,299.99. Verizon is offering a 36-month device payment plan for the Note 10+ 5G, starting at $36.11 per month.
Verizon now offers six 5G-capable devices. In addition to the Note 10+ 5G, the carrier also offers the LG V50 ThinQ, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G, the Inseego MiFi M1000 mobile hotspot, and the moto z3 and z4, which require the clip-on 5G Moto Mod attachment to tap 5G service.
Earlier this month Verizon refreshed its unlimited plans, and is still waiving a $10 per month fee for a limited time for 5G access on its three most expensive unlimited plan tiers. Verizon reinstated the charge for 5G service on its lowest cost Start Unlimited tier.
Although a number of 5G smartphones have hit the market, consumers don’t appear to be quick on the uptake. Light Reading recently reported figures from BayStreet Research that showed Verizon sold 2,000 V50 ThinQ 5G’s in the second quarter and 20,000 Galaxy S10 5G devices. BayStreet Research told the publication it estimates Verizon sold between 1,000 and 2,000 5G Moto Mods.
Though small, that’s still well above Sprint and T-Mobile, who combined sold a total of 5,000 5G smartphones in the second quarter. BayStreet Research estimates Verizon will sell 29,000 5G smartphones in the third quarter, and 46,000 in Q4, according to Light Reading.
With Phoenix, Verizon has launched in about one-third of its planned 30 5G cities, which include Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Houston, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, San Diego, and Salt Lake City.