Verizon lights up 5G in St. Paul, introduces new mobile 5G hotspot

Service rates for the new 5G Inseego MiFi mobile hotspot cost $10 more than Verizon charges for 4G LTE service. (Getty Images)

The power of fives? Verizon on Thursday powered up its mobile 5G network in a fifth U.S. city, and the carrier introduced its fifth 5G-capable device.

St. Paul, Minnesota, is the latest city to get Verizon’s millimeter wave 5G service in select areas, joining Chicago, Denver, Providence, Rhode Island, and Minneapolis.

5G service in St. Paul is available in parts of Downtown, Lowertown and West Seventh neighborhoods concentrated around landmarks, including the Minnesota Children’s Museum, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Fitzgerald Theater, Cathedral Hill Park and the Alexander Ramsey House.

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The carrier today also debuted a new mobile 5G hotspot exclusive to Verizon, the Inseego MiFi M1000, for which customers will pay $10 more per month for 5G data. Verizon is waiving its $10 per month premium for 5G service for a limited time on its two top-tier unlimited smartphone plans. The carrier in April decided to waive the fee following initial 5G launches in Chicago and Minneapolis.

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For customers on an Unlimited smartphone plan, Verizon is charging $30 per for 50GB of 5G data and 15GB of 4G LTE data on the 5G MiFi hotspot, with connected device-only plans starting at $85 per month. Both rates are $10 more than what Verizon charges for 4G LTE service.

Verizon said businesses with a $45 per month Unlimited Plan get 5G service with 35GB of “blended 4G/5G service” for an additional $15 per month.

The Inseego 5G MiFi costs $650, or $500 with a two-year contract. 

“The Inseego MiFi is our first business-ready 5G device, combining bandwidth and speed customers expect from 5G, with enterprise-grade security businesses require,” said Tami Erwin, executive vice president and group CEO for Verizon Business, in a statement.

The hotspot can connect up to 15 devices at a time. It also features advanced integrated security and firewall protection that works with Verizon’s Mobile Data Management offering.

Verizon said the 5G MiFi can deliver immersive experiences on the go when tethered to a virtual reality (VR) headset, and provide near real-time reaction for tethered robots interacting with humans or other machines.  

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The device also supports 4K and 8K video streams with close to real-time downloads and near-zero buffering delays, according to Verizon.

“We’re thrilled to introduce Verizon’s first commercial 5G mobile hotspot engineered specifically for 5G data connectivity in partnership with Verizon,” said Dan Mondor, Chairman and CEO of Inseego, in a statement. “By delivering massive amounts of data at breakthrough speeds, 5G will enable many transformative applications that once seemed impossible.”

Verizon identified uses like mobile command centers for first responders with applications such as object detection and geospatial visualization. The carrier also said Inseego’s MiFi 5G can support telemedicine, such as remote consultations or physical therapy sessions via VR.  

Verizon plans to launch 5G in parts of 30 cities this year and currently offers four 5G-capable smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the LG ThinQ 5G and Motorola’s moto z3 and z4, which require a clip-on 5G moto mod.

Verizon 4G LTE network snagged top billing across categories in RootMetrics’ most recent report, and earlier this month placed third for fastest network but first for most consistent in Ookla’s Speedtest.

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Cisco thinks carriers will need to totally upgrade their backhaul networks because their current networks can’t handle the 5G speeds.

T-Mobile promised to heavily deploy 5G across Colorado; and Dish Network promised to add 2,000 more jobs as it builds out a greenfield 5G network.

Sprint today announced it has expanded its 5G service to cover about 16 million people within nine metropolitan areas.