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Verizon’s first 5G hotspot will launch in 2019

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It’s being demonstrated at Qualcomm’s summit this week

Photo: Inseego

Verizon today announced that its first 5G — and I mean real, proper 5G NR — hotspot device will launch to consumers in 2019. The hotspot was developed in collaboration with Inseego and utilizes Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip and Snapdragon X50 5G modem.

The two companies plan to showcase the hotspot running on a very small-scale deployment of Verizon’s actual 5G NR network in Hawaii at Qualcomm’s technology summit. (The event is being used to conduct tests of the “real” 5G networks for Verizon and AT&T.) With the hotspot, they’ll perform “a live virtual reality telemedicine demonstration in partnership with Columbia University” that’s meant to highlight the incredibly low latency delivered by 5G.

Inseego says its device has “achieved more than 2Gbps of speed and sub-10 milliseconds of latency in multiple component carrier aggregation (CA) scenarios,” claiming these tests to be “real-world trial data that marks a major milestone.” Obviously those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt; Verizon isn’t yet on the record about what kind of average data speeds its customers can expect when the carrier’s 5G network goes live.

The hotspot will also offer compatibility with Wi-Fi 6, which is slated to roll out to consumers next year. Inseego says the hotspot device — there’s no official name or model number yet, apparently — will be available from Verizon in the US and other carriers internationally.

Verizon has already launched what it calls 5G Home in a few markets. It’s using a different, proprietary standard for 5G broadband, however. As for phones, the company says “Verizon 5G mobility service will go live in early 2019 and expand rapidly.” Samsung and Verizon have already announced plans to launch a 5G-capable smartphone on the network, which is likely to be some version of the Galaxy S10.