5G for consumers is still years away, but Verizon is taking another step toward the eventual future of mobile internet. Today the company announced that it will be rolling out “pre-commercial” 5G service to pilot customers in 11 markets across the United States by mid-2017.
Verizon announced its initial tests on 5G networks over a year ago at MWC 2016, but today’s news marks the first time that the service will be available for actual (albeit extremely limited) use. Verizon’s 5G rollout will be based on the company’s 5GTF specifications from last year and take place for pilot customers in Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Bernardsville, Brockton, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Sacramento, Seattle, and Washington, DC. While the goal of 5G service is to deliver dramatically improved mobile internet speeds over our current 4G standards, Verizon isn’t yet commenting on what kind of speeds the pilot cities will be experiencing.
It’s also worth noting that universal 5G specifications haven’t actually been agreed upon yet (although there is an official logo, for what it’s worth). The FCC began working to open up spectrum bands for 5G use last summer, and mobile companies both in the US and abroad are continuing to test 5G networks and chipsets.