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Verizon hits goal of launching 5G in more than 30 cities

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But beware: coverage on the ground will be spotty

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Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

One of the biggest barriers for 5G adoption is simply getting customers access to the new network. Carriers are racing to roll out 5G, and Verizon announced today that it’s reached its goal of launching the service in more than 30 US cities before the end of the year. In fact, 31 cities now have some access Verizon’s 5G network, along with 15 NFL stadiums.

But that figure needs caveats. As we’ve noted before, while 5G certainly delivers blazingly fast speeds, actual coverage is spotty and Verizon’s network is no exception. (This is partly because the millimeter wave technology used to create America’s 5G networks doesn’t travel as easily as other methods.)

In our tests of Verizon’s 5G access in Chicago, for example, the network was only available in a handful of locations, and was inconsistent even when it did appear. And while Verizon does offer coverage maps supposedly showing where 5G is available in each city, even these aren’t always reliable guides. It just goes to show: 5G is definitely a work-in-progress.

Despite this, Verizon is certainly making impressive efforts to boost coverage. It announced six new 5G cities just last week, and today added three more: Hampton Roads in Virginia, and Columbus and Cleveland in Ohio (the John Glenn Columbus International Airport also now has access, the first US airport to do so). You can see the full list of 5G cities here.

If you live in one of these areas and want to test 5G for yourself, remember you’ll need a compatible smartphone as well as patience to track down a steady connection.