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Verizon says 5G will arrive in 30 cities in late 2019

5G could be coming to a city near you this year, if you're lucky. But Verizon isn't saying where just yet.

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Verizon's CEO says 5G will be in 30 cities by year's end.

Angela Lang/CNET

Verizon's speedy 5G network is coming to 30 cities this year, CEO Hans Vestberg told investors Thursday.

The company didn't say which cities will be first in line for its 5G service or how widely the technology will be deployed in the selected places. Vestberg also didn't say exactly when the service will launch, but that it'll happen by the end of 2019.

The company did say the deployment will include the use of very high millimeter wave wireless spectrum, which is key to reaping all the promised benefits of 5G.

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5G is the next-generation of cellular technology, which promises download speeds that are 10 to 100 times faster than today's 4G LTE networks. But the real game-changer with 5G is the reduction in network latency, which will make the network respond almost instantaneously. This will enable mobile devices to do things never before imagined, and usher in a new wave of apps that will leverage newer technologies like augmented and virtual reality. It'll also allow for things like communication between autonomous cars.

"This is our commitment to be on the leading edge of technology to provide customers with the best network experiences in the world," Vestberg said in the company's press release.  

Verizon confirmed that the flavor of 5G the company is talking about is what's considered standards-based mobile 5G service. This is different from the nonstandard form of the technology the company deployed last year when it launched its wireless home internet service as an alternative to traditional wired broadband.

Verizon had previously said its mobile 5G service would launch early in 2019. And there are signs the company is getting close to making it commercially available. Since the new network will require new handsets, getting 5G-ready devices on the market is essential before the service can launch.

On Wednesday, Verizon said it'd be the exclusive launch partner for Samsung's first 5G smartphone, the Galaxy S10 5G. Samsung said the device will be available for Verizon customers in the second quarter. Verizon also said at the CES trade show in Las Vegas last month that it'll offer Motorola's Moto Z3 as another 5G handset.

Meanwhile, carriers are racing to outdo each other in 5G. In December, AT&T turned on its mobile 5G network in a dozen cities and this year plans to boost its coverage to 21 cities. So far AT&T only offers one 5G mobile hotspot that works on its network. Currently, there are not smartphones that can access the 5G network. T-Mobile said it'll launch in 30 cities, while Sprint will launch in nine cities in 2019.

Correction February 22 11:22 a.m. PT: A previous version of this story misstated the number of markets in which AT&T's 5G is operational and also misstated device availability on the network. The service is currently available in 21 markets and is accessible through a 5G mobile hotspot.