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Verizon launching 5G in October

Verizon is launching its 5G home broadband services in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Houston, and Indianapolis at the beginning of October.

Verizon has announced that it will be launching its 5G home broadband service on October 1 across parts of Sacramento, Los Angeles, Houston, and Indianapolis, with the service to provide typical network speeds of 300Mbps and peak speeds of 1Gbps.

Verizon 5G Home will be available for pre-orders as of Thursday, with its "First On 5G" members to get the first three months free, after which the service will cost $50 per month for existing Verizon Wireless customers on smartphone plans, or $70 per month for non-Verizon Wireless customers.

"5G is here," Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said on Tuesday afternoon.

"To be first, we encouraged others in the ecosystem to move more quickly at every step. We appreciate the partnership of network equipment makers, device manufacturers, software developers, and chip makers in reaching this critical milestone."

The 5G service makes use of Verizon's "ultra wideband" network utilising the company's small cells, fibre backbone, and millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum.

The service does not require an annual contract or additional hardware costs; includes free installation and set-up of all Wi-Fi devices; comes with a free router and router upgrades during 2019; provides customers with first access to 5G mobile devices as they become available; comes with a "dedicated 5G expert" to support the service; and does not include a data cap.

Verizon 5G Home customers will also be given YouTube TV free of charge for the first three months, after which it will cost $40 per month, as well as a free Apple TV 4K or Google Chromecast Ultra device.

"Verizon is the first company to bring 5G broadband internet service to consumers and is expected to be the first to offer 5G mobile service," the company added.

"Verizon 5G Home is ideal for consumers looking to 'cut the cord' or upgrade from their current cable service."

The news follows Verizon earlier this week announcing that it will be expanding its 5G Labs to four new locations across the United States, with its New York City 5G Lab to focus on media and finance tech; the Los Angeles lab on augmented reality (AR) and holograms; the Washington DC lab on public safety, first responders, cybersecurity, and hospitality tech; the Palo Alto lab on emerging technologies, education, and big data; and its Waltham, Massachusetts, lab on robotics, healthcare, and real-time enterprise services.

The labs will launch by the end of 2018, and will be kitted out with live 5G networks to help startups, universities, and tech companies to collaborate with Verizon.

Ahead of Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) in Los Angeles this week, Verizon also announced the "first ever" 5G call across a commercial network using a simulated smartphone with Ericsson and Qualcomm, after the latter two companies demonstrated the capability in Sweden last week.

Verizon in February also announced making the first over-the-air call on 5G using mmWave spectrum, Nokia equipment, and a prototype device from Qualcomm; last week trialled 5G in Washington DC with Nokia; and last month transmitted a 5G signal between two radio sectors to a moving vehicle with Nokia.

The carrier's 11 pre-commercial 5G trial networks -- in Sacramento, Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Seattle, Washington DC, Bernardsville, Brockton, and Denver -- were deployed throughout 2017.

Verizon has been additionally improving its LTE networks, in October adding Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology across its wireless network in Irvine, California, increasing network capacity and speeds for customers in partnership with Ericsson.

Verizon and Ericsson in July further announced an expansion of their 4G LTE partnership, with the Swedish networking giant to deploy its 4G and 5G-ready radio system across multiple US markets.

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