That’s if you live in the US and if you can find it …
In a bid to claim the title of the first consumer-ready 5G network in the world, Verizon surprised us by lighting up its 5G nodes across Chicago and Minneapolis ahead of schedule. Obviously, there was no way we couldn’tbook a flight to the Windy City and see what this next-gen network was capable of. As usual, though, things weren’t quite that straightforward. What actually happened is that my time testing 5G turned into a city-wide scavenger hunt, trying — often in vain — to find stable high-speed connections.
To be clear, when you do find 5G, it’s usually as fast (if not a little faster) than the 450Mbps (down) that Verizon claims. And, yes, this is only the second day the network has been live, so the carrier deserves a little slack. For now, though, only people who crave life on the wireless bleeding edge need apply — just about everyone else is better off waiting for Verizon (or its competitors, for that matter) to flesh out their 5G coverage maps first.
For those who do want to take the plunge, the costs involved can be surprisingly low. The most crucial bit of hardware I needed was Motorola’s $200 5G Moto Mod, attached to a $480 Moto Z3. (You’ll also have to pay $10 a month on top of your existing data plan, but that’s true of all Verizon 5G phones.) Around $700 for a full-blown 5G setup seems reasonable and is almost certainly less than what you’d pay for a 5G-enabled Galaxy S10. But that little math problem won’t work out in everyone’s favor — for one, it presumes that you’d want to use an upper-mid-range Android device instead of a full-blown flagship.