Verizon adds San Diego to list of cities getting 5G this year


The rollout of next generation 5G wireless networks continues its slow march, with Verizon on Thursday saying it plans to bring 5G to parts of 20 more U.S. cities this year, including San Diego.

Verizon launched its 5G networks in select neighborhoods in Chicago and Minneapolis earlier this month in its first deployments. Now more cities are in the pipeline for 2019, including San Diego, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver and Washington, D.C.

Verizon isn’t being specific about when 5G will be available in San Diego, and it’s also not saying what local neighborhoods will be the first to get it.

But coverage won’t be everywhere initially. Where it’s unavailable, 5G enabled devices will automatically hand off to the existing 4G LTE networks.

Verizon’s move comes after AT&T began limited 5G service in parts of San Diego earlier this month.

An AT&T spokesman said the company is working with early adopters to let them know where they can connect to 5G locally, but it is not publicly releasing the exact neighborhoods where 5G is available in San Diego. AT&T’s 5G service is now live in parts of 19 cities, the company said.

New 5G networks promise to deliver faster speeds, imperceptible transmission delays and lower costs for network operators – driving mobile video streaming, heavy bandwidth workplace applications, advanced cloud-connected computing, smart cities infrastructure, connected cars and health care gear, virtual reality and other services.

For now, 5G deployments are in the very early stages, with few 5G capable smartphones or mobile hotspots on the market.

But that is starting to change. Verizon is taking pre-orders for Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G smartphone, which is expected to arrive at stores on May 16. The price tag ranges from $1,300 to $1,400, with zero interest financing and trade in programs available.

Motorola currently offers an add-on attachment to its 4G Moto Z3 smartphone that taps into Verizon’s 5G network.

For AT&T, a spokesman said early adopters can get the Netgear Nighthawk hotspot for its 5G network, and it’s “on track” to have the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphone available this spring.

More devices are expected before Christmas. San Diego’s Qualcomm is supplying 5G processors for 30 devices this year.

Qualcomm predicts that 20 mobile network operators worldwide will begin deploying 5G networks this year.

Two years ago, the wireless industry accelerated the launch of 5G technology in hopes of sparking an upgrade cycle in the saturated smartphone market.

Additional cities targeted by Verizon for 5G this year include Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis and Providence.

Later this year, Verizon plans to announce additional cities on tap to get 5G networks.