Verizon links a Moto Z3 to its 5G network in a 'world's first'

But 5G for phones won't be available until 2019.

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Richard Lawler
November 14th, 2018
Chris Velazco / Engadget
Chris Velazco / Engadget

Verizon, Motorola, Qualcomm and Samsung announced that they've achieved the world's first 5G data transmission to a smartphone using a "commercial 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) network." How'd they do it? Using a Moto Z3 with a 5G Moto Mod attached, which is scheduled to become available when its service for phones starts in 2019.

Verizon kicked in the spectrum and network, Samsung made the radio, Motorola obviously built the phone and it's Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem inside that little backpack. Instead of downloading the latest Overwatch or Fortnite patch, they tested the link with a video call and internet browsing.

Currently, Verizon's 5G service is available only in a few cities, pushing broadband for home internet but many providers are racing to launch services. AT&T has said its 5G network will be ready to go live this month, while Sprint and LG have said they'll try to be first to launch a phone next year. While Intel gets its 5G modem technology together Qualcomm has a head start there, and has said it expects a couple waves of flagship phones launching in 2019.

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