April 3 (UPI) -- Verizon launched its 5G wireless network Wednesday in two U.S. cities -- Chicago and Minneapolis -- becoming the first carrier in the world to put the new system online.
The fifth generation cellular network will expand to 30 more markets by the end of the year, Verizon said. The new 5G system boosts data speeds to 450 megabits per second, with peak speeds of nearly 1 gigabit per second -- about 10 times faster than 4G speeds.
Few phones in the United States are presently 5G-compatible and only a select number will support the network initially. Samsung is expected to release a 5G model through Verizon by June and other U.S. carriers by the end of the year. The $240 Motorola Z3 is only phone right now that can operate on Verizon's 5G network, and only after installation of a $200 modification.
T-Mobile and Sprint say they intend to roll out their 5G network in the coming months.
"This is the latest in our string of 5G firsts," Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement. "Verizon launched the first commercial broadband 5G service last October, Verizon 5G Home, and now we're lighting up our 5G Ultra Wideband network in Chicago and Minneapolis, providing the world's first commercial 5G mobile service with a 5G-enabled smartphone."
The new service is concentrated in both cities' downtown areas, the carrier said. To accommodate its entry into 5G, Verizon restructured its business in November to create separate entities for consumers, businesses and its media group.