Verizon to launch mobile 5G in Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11

The new 5G mobile service requires a Motorola phone with an attached moto mod. (Verizon)

Verizon will launch its first mobile 5G service in “select areas” of Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11. Customers will be able to access the network with the Motorola moto z3 smartphone paired with the Motorola 5G moto mod to create a 5G-enabled phone.

The 5G service in Chicago and Minneapolis is built on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband Network. And the company says it has plans to rapidly expand the network in coverage area this year. Last month, Verizon announced that it intends to launch its 5G Ultra Wideband network in more than 30 U.S. cities in 2019.

Verizon’s 5G Mobility service in Chicago and Minneapolis uses the new radio (NR) standard developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). When customers move outside Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband coverage area, the 5G moto mod will automatically hand off the signal to Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

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The company boasts that its 5G Ultra Wideband network takes advantage of its massive spectrum holdings, particularly in the millimeter wave bands; its extensive deep fiber resources; and its current and future deployment of a large number of small cells.

Verizon’s 5G service plan comes with unlimited data, available for $10 a month (with the first three months free) with any Verizon unlimited plan, including Verizon Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited or Above Unlimited plans.

Motorola

The company’s deal with Motorola is exclusive for the moto mod. Rudi Kalil, Motorola’s general manager for North America, said in a statement, “We’re very excited that the transformative 5G moto mod developed at our headquarters in Chicago will soon be used by our own community, in addition to Minneapolis, to bring our bright 5G future to life.”

For a limited time, customers can preorder the 5G moto mod, which retails for $349.99, for just $50. To buy a 5G moto mod, customers must either have an active moto z3 on their account or purchase a moto z3 at the same time as the 5G moto mod.

RELATED: Verizon to double 5G Home speeds in 6 months

Verizon began its commercial 5G services by launching its 5G Home broadband internet service in October 2018. It's currently available in Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Indianapolis. Verizon 5G Home service in those markets relies on an early version of the 5G standard developed by the 5G Technology Forum. But the company says all Verizon 5G services going forward will use the NR standard developed by the 3GPP.

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