Is the age of 5G connectivity finally upon us? After much debate and competition among several of the US carriers about what real 5G really is, it looks like Verizon is the first one officially out the door. Their first commercial 5G network has gone live in portions of four US cities, specifically Sacramento, Houston, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles. Someone in Houston named Clayton Harris now has the distinction of becoming the “first 5G customer in the world” and if you’re his neighbor, you might want to say hi to try out how fast 5G is.
Verizon 5G Home is the first of its kind and is built on the Verizon-led open 5G TF network standard. Those who signed up to be “First on 5G” members are of course the first to be able to try out this “super-fast Wi-Fi” and if it indeed it will live up to the promise. The four cities in which they are launching had “forward-looking state policy” as well as local leaders who believed in the vision and the innovation.
In Sacramento for instance, the past year saw the installation of small cells in more than 200 utility poles and street lights. The support of the local government made this possible and that’s because they understood that this was more than just providing 5G for some residents. This will eventually lead to additional investment and serving the underserved communities with fast Internet. This has also made the city a prime place to test out 5G-dependent innovations like autonomous cars.
Those who signed up to be First on 5G will of course get perks for being early adaptors. Their 5G Home Service will be free for the first 3 months, free white glove installation and equipment, and of course early access to new 5G-dependent services. They also get YouTube TV for free for 3 months and a Google Chromecast Ultra (or Apple TV 4K) upon installation.
After the three months free, those with a qualified smartphone plan will pay $50 per month to maintain their 5G while those who don’t have Verizon Wireless plan will pay $70. Let’s wait for early feedback from the users if 5G is indeed as fast as advertised.