Verizon’s 5G millimeter wave network will face perhaps its biggest coverage test yet when it launches in “parts of” New York City on September 26th. Today the carrier announced that 5G service will reach areas of uptown, midtown, and downtown Manhattan, along with select parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens.
With NYC included, Verizon will have rolled out mobile 5G service to a total of 11 cities. The company aims to reach over 30 cities by the end of this year. “Our goal is to provide 5G network coverage to more than 50 percent of the US by the end of 2020,” Verizon said in a press release.
However, as with its other 5G markets, Verizon isn’t yet providing a coverage map that outlines exactly where customers will be able to get its incredibly fast mmWave speeds. Rival carrier T-Mobile has relentlessly mocked Verizon over this, most recently launching a “VerHIDEzon” ad campaign (complete with a Squarespace-made website) that blasts its competitor for a lack of transparency. “It’s about underscoring just how crazy it is to ask customers to pay more and then guess where they can use the thing they’re paying more for,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray wrote in a blog post. (Some of Verizon’s unlimited data plans are currently waiving the $10 5G fee.)
Millimeter wave offers blazing-fast mobile data speeds, but it has extremely limited reach, requiring nodes on pretty much every street block where service is available — especially in cities with many high-rise buildings.
T-Mobile has already rolled out mmWave service in New York City (with a coverage map.) As they’re built upon the same technology, you can bet we’ll be trying to gauge how the two 5G networks compare.
T-Mobile executives including CEO John Legere have also accused Verizon of having an incomplete, doomed 5G strategy. “I’ve said all along that 5G requires a mix of all spectrum types: high-band (mmWave) for massive capacity over short distances in dense urban areas, mid-band for coverage and capacity depth, and low-band for broad nationwide coverage, including rural America,” Ray wrote, using the opportunity to further hype the T-Mobile / Sprint merger and combined spectrum pool the new company will gain.
Verizon has insisted that it knows exactly what it’s doing with 5G over the long term, but the company refuses to go into detail about how it will expand upon the millimeter wave technology it’s currently building out. Network VP Heidi Hemmer has said Verizon has a “multi-spectrum strategy,” but claims it’s not offering specifics to avoid AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint from gaining a “competitive edge.”
What 5G phones does Verizon have?
Verizon currently offers three phones that can tap into its 5G millimeter wave network.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G: $1,299.99
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G: $1,299.99
- LG V50 ThinQ 5G: $999.99