The future of the internet is here, at least for a few users in the US. Verizon just switched on what the company claims to be the world's first commercial end-to-end 5G network in the world in four cities in the US.
Although 5G connections promise to deliver "gigabits-per-second" bandwidth, and "sub-millisecond latencies", as per a report by Engadget current limitations will only let users hover around a speed of 300 Mbps. Hence, though the network is a 5G network, speeds are not really off the charts just yet. In fact, Verizon in their statement mention that the 5G Home network launched today is a temporary one given that it is currently based on Verizon's 5G TF standard, while the specifications for the global standard, 5G NR, awaits a final go ahead.
Verizon mentions that it will upgrade equipment and devices handed to customers currently to the global 5G nR standard, as and when it is approved by the telecom association 3GPP.
Verizon customers who live in parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento can, therefore, boast of the novelty for a while. In fact, a resident of Houston, Clayton Harris, is claimed to be the first 5G customer in the world. Harris and others that became “First on 5G” members are looking to pay a price of $50 a month (if they have an existing Verizon phone plan) or $70 a month (if they don’t). This is only after the initial free three month promo period runs out. Other early bird perks include a free Apple TV 4K or Google Chromecast Ultra on which they can watch YouTube TV (again for free).
For those still wondering what Verizon's 5G service is all about, 5G Home as Verizon likes to call it, is a fixed wireless access solution which essentially replaces the broadband cabling. 5G-enabled phones are not out yet but they are on the way and those too will be made available to Verizon's 'First on 5G' members before other users.
Another report by VentureBeat, however, claims that though Verizon's 5G Home service may be the first end-to-end 5G service, smaller carriers in Qatar, Lesotho, Finland and Estonia, over the summer, have already beaten the company to claim the "world's first 5G network" title.
Customers interested in Verizon 5G Home service can check if their area is serviceable via the company’s FirstOn5G.com website. The company began taking service preorder requests on 13 September.