Verizon Wireless will start offering a 5G-based wireless home Internet service next month in parts of four US cities, with service coming to other cities at an as-yet-unspecified date.
“Typical” download speeds will be around 300Mbps. The max speed of nearly 1Gbps will be available “depending on location,” and there will be “no data caps,” Verizon said. The speeds are fast enough to rival Verizon’s fiber-to-the-home service, and the carrier has previously claimed that its 5G network will have “single-millisecond latencies.”
Verizon 5G Home will be available in parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento beginning on October 1, and customers can sign up starting on Thursday morning, Verizon announced yesterday.
Early users of the service in those four cities will get it for free for the first three months. “After that introductory period, current Verizon Wireless customers with a qualifying smartphone plan will pay $50 per month for the service, while non-Verizon Wireless customers will pay $70 per month,” Verizon said. “This monthly charge includes all taxes and fees, and does not require an annual contract. There are no additional hardware costs.”
Customers will also get three free months of YouTube TV and a free Apple TV 4K or Google Chromecast Ultra, Verizon said.
If you’re not in a launch area, you can sign up for updates about availability starting Thursday at this Verizon page.
Initial availability will be limited to “certain neighborhoods” in the four launch cities. “Verizon will rapidly expand its coverage area once we can install the new standards-compliant equipment from our vendors,” the carrier said.
While Verizon said its wireless home Internet service will have no data caps, Verizon’s “unlimited” mobile services can be throttled during times of network congestion after customers use a certain amount each month. We asked Verizon if a similar limitation will be applied to 5G home Internet and will update this story if we a get a response. We also asked Verizon for the service’s upload speeds and information about what equipment will be used in the home.
(UPDATE: A Verizon spokesperson told us the service won’t have any throttling. Service at each home will rely on a router, and possibly an exterior antenna “depending on the customer’s location,” Verizon also told Ars.)
Verizon said its 300Mbps to 1Gbps download speeds are achieved with “deep fiber resourcesthroughout the network” and “a large deployment of small cells.” While the home Internet service uses multiple spectrum bands, Verizon said it is heavily dependent on millimeter wave frequencies, “the only spectrum with the bandwidth to realize the full 5G potential for capacity, throughput and latency.”
Verizon’s wireless network already has the highest utilization rate among 80 mobile operators worldwide, according to a new study by Rewheel Research. “Verizon was the operator with the highest yearly average capacity utilization of 57 percent in 2017,” while most carriers were below 20 percent and the US average was 33 percent, the research group said.
Verizon’s network limitations have been a hot topicrecently, since the Santa Clara County fire departments complained that a device with an unlimited data plan was throttled while they were fighting California’s largest-ever wildfire.
Verizon’s 5G mobile service hasn’t launched yet.
AT&T is also planning to launch a 5G home Internet service and has already begun trials. AT&T says its trials are providing speeds of nearly 1Gbps and latency of less than 20 milliseconds. T-Mobile US and Sprint, which are trying to merge, also say they’ll offer home broadband service.