Verizon launched mobile 5G service a week ahead of schedule, offering speeds of up to 1Gb/s on Motorola’s Z3 smartphone equipped with a clip-on adapter in select areas of Chicago and Minneapolis.

CEO Hans Vestberg (pictured) said in a statement the move means “Verizon customers will be the first in the world to have the power of 5G in their hands” on a compatible smartphone. The operator originally aimed to launch the service on 11 April.

Initial coverage spans the West Loop and South Loop of Chicago, near landmarks including Union Station, Millennium Park and The Chicago Theatre. In Minneapolis, availability is concentrated on the downtown area and around landmarks including US Bank Stadium, the Minneapolis Convention Center and Target Center arena.

Verizon said customers in the areas can expect typical download speeds of 450Mb/s, with peak speeds of nearly 1Gb/s and latency of less than 30 milliseconds. Outside of 5G coverage areas, the service will fall back to Verizon’s LTE network.

Upgrades on the way
Plans are in place to make “regular improvements” to the network to enhance speed, latency and overall performance. Verizon said corresponding software updates will be pushed out to 5G-compatible devices throughout the rest of the year.

Last month, Verizon said additional 5G handsets from Samsung, LG and others will be offered later in 2019 to complement the initial Moto devices.

Unlimited 5G data is being offered as a $10 add-on to customers on Verizon’s range of unlimited tariffs.

The operator previously said it plans to expand its mobile 5G network to include coverage in more than 30 cities this year. Verizon debuted a fixed wireless access 5G product in October 2018.

Rival AT&T launched its mobile 5G network in December 2018, but service is only available to select business and consumer customers on a mobile hotspot device.

Verizon announced its move shortly after South Korean operators detailed their own consumer service launch plans using a commercial smartphone, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G.