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5G networks

Verizon kicks off world's first 5G, beating South Korea to the punch

Launch a week ahead of schedule as three Korean carriers turn on network Friday

Verizon on Wednesday turned on its 5G service in select areas in Chicago and Minneapolis a week ahead of schedule.

NEW YORK -- Verizon on Wednesday started its fifth-generation wireless network in areas of Minneapolis and Chicago ahead of schedule, snatching the "world's first commercial 5G mobile service" status from South Korea, where three leading carriers will begin service Friday.

The U.S. telecom provider's launch, originally set for April 11, also offered customers a 5G-compatible device -- the Moto Z3 with 5G Moto Mod, a handset combination manufactured by Motorola. This also stripped Samsung Electronics the right to call its Galaxy S10 5G smartphone the first commercial 5G-enabled phone on the market.

"Verizon customers will be the first in the world to have the power of 5G in their hands," Hans Vestberg, Verizon's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

"Verizon launched the first commercial broadband 5G service last October, Verizon 5G Home, and now we're lighting up our 5G Ultra Wideband network in Chicago and Minneapolis, providing the world's first commercial 5G mobile service with a 5G-enabled smartphone," Vestberg added.

The company has said it intends to launch 5G mobile service in more than 30 U.S. cities this year.

On Friday, KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus -- three of South Korea's biggest wireless providers -- will make their 5G network available to consumers with Samsung's Galaxy S10.

KT announced on Tuesday the pricing for its 5G mobile service. The plan for unlimited data will cost about $70 per month -- about 60% higher than the comparable 4G service. KT said under the new network, users can expect data to transmit 20 times faster than the fastest networks of the older generation.

Verizon's 5G service plan comes with unlimited data, for $10 a month with any Verizon unlimited plan. Users can expect peak download speeds of nearly 1 Gbps, and latency less than 30 milliseconds, the company said.

Samsung's S10 5G model is also expected to hit the U.S. market later this quarter through an exclusive deal with Verizon.

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