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Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm tout new 5G peak download speeds of 5Gbps

After boasting 4Gbps download speeds last week, Verizon is showing that its 5G can go even faster.

Verizon is touting yet another 5G speed improvement. 
Angela Lang/CNET

Verizon is continuing to improve the 5G speed of its millimeter-wave network, with the company touting today that it has reached a new peak of 5.06 gigabits per second in download speeds. In theory, a connection that fast would let you download an entire season of a TV show, in HD, in seconds. The new accomplishment, which was done together with Ericsson and Qualcomm, comes one week after Verizon boasted 4Gbps download speeds over millimeter-wave during Apple's iPhone 12 launch. 

Unlike the 4Gbps result, which the carrier says can be found in certain cities today, the new peak download speed came in a "lab environment" using Qualcomm's upcoming X60 5G modem. Verizon says that the speeds were attained using carrier aggregation that combined its millimeter-wave signal and a 4G LTE anchor, a pairing of wireless spectrum that the company says is possible in "several 5G devices available today" that use Qualcomm's current X55 chipset. 

The wireless carrier touts that when "fully mature" the 5G technology will have the "potential of reaching speeds up to 10Gbps" with "latency under 5 milliseconds" for more instantaneous connections. 

While an impressive milestone, it's unclear when these speed improvements will arrive at its existing 5G cities. 

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Despite launching a nationwide 5G network last week using some of its lower-band spectrum, Verizon has continued to push its millimeter-wave technology, which is significantly faster than low-band 5G but severely limited in range. Verizon has millimeter-wave 5G (or what it calls "Ultra Wideband"; it's sometimes styled "mmWave") available in parts of 55 cities with plans to get to 60 cities before the end of 2020. You will, however, need to be on the right block and outdoors to use the connection, as the signal does not travel far, cannot penetrate into buildings and can be disrupted if items like leaves get in the way. 

The lower-band 5G network, which Verizon calls "5G Nationwide," is available to more than 200 million people, but its current speeds and coverage are largely the same as a good 4G LTE connection. Verizon's millimeter-wave 5G also requires having the right plan, while its nationwide 5G network works on all older plans so long as you have a 5G phone.

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