March 13, 2019 / 12:50 PM / 3 months ago

Verizon launches 5G in Chicago, Minneapolis at $10 extra cost

(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc beat rivals AT&T and Sprint in the race to launch the first fifth generation mobile services in two cities in the United States at an additional cost of $10 for customers with existing unlimited plans.

Users in Chicago and Minneapolis will be able to avail the 5G wireless network from April 11 by using a Motorola Z3 mobile and a 5G “Moto Mod”, a physical magnet-like attachment for the phone, the telecommunications company said.

AT&T Corp and Sprint Corp are also building their 5G networks and plan to release 5G smartphones with Samsung Electronics later this year.

5G, the next-generation wireless network, is expected to offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than 4G networks.

The largest U.S. wireless carrier by subscribers will offer the “Moto mod” for $50 initially and its customers would not have to pay for 5G for the first three months.

Verizon, which plans to expand to more than 30 U.S. cities in 2019, launched its first commercial 5G service in October when its 5G Home offering went live in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

While Verizon is leading the charge to test its 5G services, industry analysts say the higher-speed networks are unlikely to be widely available until the middle of the next decade.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sweta Singh and Arun Koyyur

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