A handful of Verizon customers will soon have faster wireless service — but they’ll have to pay $10 a month more. Plus they can use from Motorola phones.
In other news, AT&T is upping its streaming service prices.
Verizon says it’ll flip the switch next month on a much-hyped, next-generation “5G” phone network. Service will start in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis.
The company said recently that it would launch 5G in some 30 metro areas but did not identify any of the locations until Wednesday.
5G will offer wireless broadband speeds far above current 4G LTE technology.
The offer is available only on unlimited plans, which currently start at $75 for one person without 5G. It requires Motorola’s Moto Z3 phone with a special 5G attachment.
Motorola is owned by Lenovo, which operates international headquarters in Morrisville and Beijing.
“At Motorola we proudly deliver innovations, like the 5G moto mod and moto z3, that change how people connect with each other and use technology in daily life,” said Rudi Kalil, vice president and general manager of North America at Motorola. “We’re very excited that the transformative 5G moto mod developed at our HQ in Chicago will soon be used by our own community, in addition to Minneapolis, to bring our bright 5G future to life.”
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are in a race to make 5G deployments.
“Continuing our track record of 5G ‘firsts,’ we are thrilled to bring the first 5G-upgradeable smartphone exclusively to Verizon customers,” said Verizon Chief Technology Officer Kyle Malady. “Not all 5G networks are the same. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is built by the company with the nation’s best and most reliable 4G LTE network. It will change the way we live, work, learn and play, starting in Chicago and Minneapolis and rapidly expanding to more than 30 U.S. markets this year.”
The communications giant began 5G Home broadband internet service in Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Indianapolis late in 2018.
Other 5G-enabled phones, including one from Samsung, will come this year. Verizon would not say how 5G pricing would work with those phones.
T-Mobile has said its 5G plans won’t be more expensive if its proposed takeover of Sprint goes through. Sprint hasn’t announced 5G prices. AT&T did not immediately respond to questions.
AT&T ups streaming prices
AT&T is raising prices for its DirecTV Now streaming TV service, while removing some networks from the cable-like television package.
The changes come just weeks after a U.S. appeals court upheld the company’s Time Warner takeover. The Justice Department fought it, arguing it would lead to higher prices.
DirecTV Now used to start at $40 a month. The cheapest for new customers will now be $50. Packages will now include the AT&T-owned HBO, but the service is dropping some popular lifestyle and entertainment networks not owned by AT&T, including HGTV, Discovery, Food Network and MTV.
DirecTV Now, along with similar services from Hulu, YouTube and others, let people stream regular cable channels over the internet for a monthly fee. Hulu’s Live TV service and Netflix have also raised prices recently.
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