- Verizon just launched a new mobile 5G hotspot that will let non-5G smartphones connect to its 5G network.
- But it comes at a high price that’s about the same as a new smartphone.
- Carriers like Verizon and AT&T are continuing to roll out 5G networks across the United States, but the technology is still barely present.
- It’s a pricey investment considering 5G networks aren’t widely available across the US just yet, so most consumers are probably better off waiting.
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After years of hype around faster 5G networks, carriers in the United States are finally starting to roll out the technology. And Verizon on Thursday launched a new hotspot that makes it possible for you to try out 5G on your current phone – although it’ll cost about as much as a new smartphone, and you’ll need to be in an area covered by Verizon’s 5G network to experience 5G speeds.
It’s called the 5G MiFi M1000, and it costs $500 on a two-year contract or $650 outright. You can also choose to buy it for $27.08 per month on a payment plan. That’s almost the same price as the $670 OnePlus 7 Pro and is more expensive than the $400 Google Pixel 3a. It’s also more than twice as expensive as Verizon’s JetPack MiFi 8800L LTE hotspot, which costs $200.
The hotspot is being positioned as a means for enabling faster speeds for newer, power-hungry technologies like virtual and augmented reality, internet-of-things devices, and video streaming in 4K and 8K. Smartphones that don’t support 5G will be able to access Verizon’s 5G network using the hotspot, although a 4G device likely wouldn’t see speeds that are quite as fast as a smartphone with built-in 5G technology. But 4G phones will still experience speeds that are faster than usual on Verizon’s 5G network, according to a company spokesperson.
It’s also worth noting the 5G networks are still largely nascent in the United States and are only available in a handful of cities. Verizon now has 5G networks live in Illinois in Chicago, in Minnesota in Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota, in Colorado in Denver, and in Rhode Island in Providence. Rivals like AT&T and T-Mobile also have 5G networks that are live in cities across with US, with AT&T already rolling out networks in 19 cities. And even in cities where Verizon’s 5G network is live, it’s only available in certain areas. For example, in Chicago, the service is available specifically in The Loop, The Gold Coast, and a couple of other sections of the city, according to Verizon’s website. If you’re in an area without 5G, the 5G MiFi M1000 connects to 4G networks as well.
The hotspot’s launch also comes as smartphone makers are releasing new 5G-compatible devices, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G, Motorola’s Moto Z4, and LG’s V50 ThinQ. Apple, meanwhile, is reportedly holding off until 2020 to release its first 5G-enabled iPhone.