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Verizon Kicks Off 5G Rollout With Launch In Two Cities

Download speeds should range between 4X and 10X of the typical LTE speeds, according to Verizon.

Verizon Wednesday said that it has begun the rollout of high-speed 5G internet by turning on the service in Chicago and Minneapolis.

The ultra wideband 5G network, which can only be accessed by compatible devices, offers speeds of up to 1 Gbps, Verizon said. That amounts to a 10X improvement on average LTE speeds.

[Related: 5G Wireless in 2019: The 7 Biggest Things To Know]

However, typical download speeds for early customers in Chicago and Minneapolis are expected at less than half that amount, 450 Mbps, Verizon noted.

For the time being, only one device is 5G-capable—the Motorola Moto Z3 smartphone. The device is able to connect to 5G by using a modular add-on.

A 5G-enabled version of the Samsung Galaxy S10, previously announced but not yet released, is also reportedly planned to launch this quarter.

"Verizon customers will be the first in the world to have the power of 5G in their hands," said Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg in a news release.

The launch follows Verizon's debut of a broadband 5G service for consumers, Verizon 5G Home, last October.

As carriers start to roll out 5G, "I think coverage will still be very spotty," said Marco Nielsen, vice president of managed mobility services at Stratix, a Norcross, Ga.-based MSP, in an email to CRN. "Thus the investments for the enterprise will still be some time out—although 5G can also be used for stationary internet access replacements" such as office, store and home locations, he said.

"I think it will really get interesting next year, in 2020. Then hopefully the coverage will be there, and enterprises planning to replace their mobile devices could look at mobile devices with 5G support," Nielsen said. "The price points of the new handsets supporting 5G will need to come down, which I think they will with quantity."

In the meantime, "the solutions that utilize 5G will need to be developed and thought through. I think it will mostly be video-based solutions in the short time that will utilize the low latency and high bandwidth," Nielsen said.

Eventually, augmented-, virtual- and mixed-reality solutions will be able to benefit from working with 5G, he said.

"The ability to move larger amounts of data faster will make our data usage a commodity, more transparent and increase our cloud abilities," Nielsen said.

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