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Verizon Adds Home 5G Internet Service in One More City

October 21, 2019, 2:27 PM UTC

Verizon is extending its wireless home Internet service to Chicago starting next week, the first addition to its in-home 5G push since last year.

Starting on Oct. 24, residents in parts of Chicago will be able to sign up for the home Internet service with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second, fast enough to download a high-definition movie in under a minute. Customers who already subscribe to Verizon wireless for phones pay $50 per month for the service, which otherwise costs $70.

Relying on 5G wireless technology, the service doesn’t require costly and time-consuming wired connections for installation. About a year ago, Verizon debuted its 5G home Internet service in parts of Sacramento, Houston, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis. But those efforts relied on early 5G gear that was unique to Verizon. Equipment for the Chicago service follows the industry standard known as the 3GPP New Radio standard that carriers are widely adopting worldwide.

Verizon said it would supply customers of the Chicago service with a Wi-Fi router incorporating the newest Wi-Fi 6 standard and a smart speaker that includes the Amazon Alexa digital assistant. The Wi-Fi 6 standard, also known as 802.11ax, is the fastest incarnation of the technology yet and should help 5G home customers get the most out of their service.

The home Internet push is distinct from Verizon’s mobile 5G offerings, which currently cover parts of 13 cities, including Chicago, with plans to reach 30 cities by the end of the year. Most of the 5G competition among U.S. carriers has so far focused on mobile, with AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile also racing to expand speedy smartphone service to major metropolitan areas.

The home Internet push also differs from the mobile service in a key way from Wall Street’s point of view. Currently, Verizon charges the same monthly fee for 4G and 5G mobile service, meaning the company isn’t yet profiting much from the billions of dollars spent to build the 5G network. But the home push is aimed at customers who currently get Internet service from other companies, so all of the revenue bolsters Verizon’s financial results.

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