Verizon has announced that it will officially be launching its truly mobile 5G service in both Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11, with initial support for the service arriving first on Motorola's Moto Z3. Users will need to pick up a Verizon-exclusive 5G moto mod for the modular device to gain access to the next-generation network and will need a compatible postpaid unlimited service plan.
Exact details regarding service areas that will feature 5G connectivity haven't been provided just yet. The carrier does indicate that only select portions of its overall service area will have the tech ready to go. Users will need to pay an addition $10 per month regardless of whether they access the service via a Verizon Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, or Above Unlimited plan too but the first three months will be included for free.
Preorders for the 5G moto mod will open up on March 14 and those who activate a new line of service can get the Moto Z3 at no cost when they pick up the mod on that date. The mod itself will be available for just $50, with Verizon listing that it has a retail value of around $349.99. The handset can also be had on a payment plan for $10 per month.
The Moto Z3
The free device in question, launched in late 2018, isn't necessarily a flagship handset but it comes very close. The Moto Z3 packs in the previous generation's octa-core Snapdragon 835 backed by 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. Power is provided via a 3,000mAh battery coupled with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 or Motorola TurboPower standards.
That's all packed into a metal frame sandwiched between Gorilla Glass panels for a splash-resistant but not waterproof design. On the front, just above the 6-inch Super AMOLED Full HD+ display panel, Motorola has included an 8-megapixel selfie-snapper. Around the back, users get dual 12-megapixel sensors in a horizontal configuration.
The device supports moto mods, of course, meaning there's more than just 5G to be had with a relatively easy swap of the module — for those times when a service area for the new networks is just out of reach.
You probably won't be able to get 5G yet with this promotion but it's coming
If users leave Verizon's Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband service area while using the new 5G moto mod with the Moto Z3, service will automatically kick back over to the much more widely available 4G LTE on offer from the carrier. That's good news because the total coverage area is not going to be vast at first launch.
If the area covered by Verizon's previously launched, more home-centric 5G is any indication, the coverage could actually be downright paltry. Shortly after that network launched in regions of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, it was discovered through internal network maps that only select neighborhoods were actually covered. That could ultimately be the case with this initial offering as well.
Regardless, Verizon says its 5G service will continue to steadily launch in new areas over the course of 2019. The current plan is to turn service on in more than 30 US cities by the end of the year. So the total area covered by next-gen networking should at least begin to grow once the company has begun diving into its rollout.