Verizon has officially reached its stated goal of delivering 5G in at least 30 cities before the end of 2019.
According the company’s news feed, Verizon has officially crossed the 30 city threshold, with 5G now active in 31 cities across the U.S. The most recent additions—Columbus, Cleveland, and Hampton Roads—helped the carrier meet its goal.
As several outlets have pointed out, however, Verizon’s announcement seems more geared toward meeting an arbitrary marketing deadline than offering practical coverage. Because Verizon’s 5G is primarily the high-frequency millimeter wave (mmWave) variety, it offers extremely limited range and even worse building penetration. As a result, while the speeds are far superior to 4G LTE, the coverage area is so narrow and spotty that its practical use is still very limited.
This is in contrast to T-Mobile’s approach, which is centered around low-band 5G in the 600 MHz range. While it only offers speeds that range from 20 percent to four times faster than LTE, the range, coverage and penetration are superior to older technology. Like Verizon, T-Mobile is also building out mmWave services in metropolitan areas, but their low-band service ensures that everyone will benefit from 5G, not just a few million people in densely populated areas.
Hopefully as 2020 dawns, Verizon will focus on delivering usable 5G, as opposed to checking off marketing milestones.