Verizon names Chicago, Minneapolis its first 5G cities

Verizon's first two markets will be Chicago - home of Motorola's headquarters, and Minneapolis.

All four major carriers are gearing up to launch 5G throughout the U.S. AT&T deployed its 5G network in 12 cities a year ago, and Sprint said recently that it will activate its 5G network in four cities in May. Even in Chicago and Minneapolis, it sounds like 5G service will be spotty at the beginning, as Verizon says only "select areas" of both cities will be covered come launch day.

The carrier said it would begin taking pre-orders for 5G Moto Z3 Mod on March 14.

"It will change the way we live, work, learn and play", Chief Technology Officer Kyle Malady said in a statement.

T-Mobile has said its 5G plans won't be more expensive if its proposed takeover of Sprint goes through.

This is great news because it means there will actually be a working 5G network to use the handful of new 5G smartphones launching this year on.

The 5G Moto Mod for Motorola's Moto Z3
The 5G Moto Mod for Motorola's Moto

Verizon, which plans to expand to more than 30 USA cities in 2019, launched its first commercial 5G service in October when its 5G Home offering went live in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

It's by far the most expensive mod released yet, however, to help spur adoption, Verizon (the exclusive carrier for the 5G mod) and Motorola are teaming up to allow people to pre-order the 5G mod for just $50 for a limited time.

The first 5G-capable phone in Verizon's network will be Motorola Moto Z. But accessing it for 5G will require additional hardware called 5G Moto Mod.

How much will Verizon 5G service cost?

However, the big bang 5G rollout of Verizon also kicks in a reminder that unlike 4G, the fast mode 5G is not an automatic upgrade and customers have to pay more. As announced a year ago, the Moto Mod is essentially a detachable 5G antenna for the Moto Z3. To qualify for this sweet introductory deal, you'll have to own or buy a Moto Z3 alongside its 5G-enabling add-on. If you have an older Verizon plan and refuse to switch, you won't have access to 5G. Like 10, which is the number of dollars required to add unlimited 5G data on top of existing Go, Beyond, and Above Unlimited plans. For now, the Moto Z3 and its 5G Moto Mod.

Vanessa Coleman