Verizon switches on 'world's first' commercial 5G network

Only a few neighborhoods across the US are covered so far.


Verizon has announced the start of its "First on 5G" program, which the company says is the world's first commercial fifth-generation network. The program is only live in parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento for now.

The 5G broadband connection is promised to deliver "gigabits-per-second" bandwidth and "sub-millisecond latencies," although the expected average speed is 300 Mbps. Being essentially a mobile standard, 5G promises an order-of-magnitude improvement on the fourth-generation LTE technology used by most telecom providers today. Effectively, the technology allows customers to enjoy cable-like connectivity without the need for cable.

The 5G Home network launched today is a temporary one, though. The service is currently based on Verizon's 5G TF standard, while the specifications for the global standard, 5G NR, are yet to be finalized by the telecom association 3GPP. In a statement, Verizon said that it will upgrade its equipment, including the devices on the customer's end, to the new standard when it becomes available.

In the meantime, the first people to experience commercial 5G broadband connection have also received a few perks, like free internet access and YouTube TV for the first three months, as well as a free Apple TV 4K or Google Chromecast Ultra device. After the free period, Verizon Wireless customers with a qualifying smartphone will pay $50 a month for 5G Home, but the price will be $70 for everyone else.