While Verizon started rolling out 5G for homes last fall, it plans to bring the next-generation communication tech to its current mobile network with a nationwide rollout this year. But what phones will you be able to use on it?
The carrier hasn’t released any specifics on its plans aside from noting its 5G Ultra Wideband Network, as Verizon is calling it in press materials, will reach 30 US cities in 2019.
Obviously, you’ll need a phone that works with Verizon’s unspecified network. More specifically, you’ll need a phone with the right specs (new processors and modems) to hook up to 5G networks at all.
Here are the phones Verizon has already announced will be usable on its own 5G network.
Moto Z3 (with 5G Moto Mod)
The Moto Z3 is technically Verizon’s first 5G-capable phone, but only because Motorola planned long in advance to introduce a Moto Mod deliberately designed to connect the handset to a 5G networks.
The caveat: you can’t buy the mod just yet (not that Verizon's advanced network ready anyway), but when the accessory becomes available in the first half of 2019, you’ll be able pick it up on Motorola’s website here (and likely in Verizon stores).
The Moto Z3 isn’t nearly as flashy as the other phones on this list, but it will be far more affordable, which gives Verizon an advantage over other carriers that are only backing the top 5G flagships. We don’t just mean “mid-range” affordable, either: the Moto Z3 launched last fall costing $480 (about £370, AU$650), and is doubtless a bit cheaper on the market by now.
Even if the 5G Moto Mod has a stiff price tag, both will still be half or even a third as cheap as the other 5G-capable phones working on these carrier networks.
Of course, don’t expect high performance at that price. The Moto Z3 packs a Snapdragon 835 – the top Android chip of 2017 – and starts at 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage (you can opt for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for a price bump). Its 6-inch AMOLED display is fine, if an unremarkable 2,160 x 1,080 (FHD+).
Its main 12MP f/2.0 rear shooter is supplemented with a 12MP monochrome lens for low-light, while the front-facing camera is an 8MP f/2.0 for selfies. Add in a 3,000mAh battery and you have a decent phone with classy, glossy glass front and back…though you’ll conceivably need to keep the 5G mod attached to its rear at all times to access Verizon’s advanced network.
Still, it’s a compromise that should work well for folks who want hyper-fast 5G speeds, but don’t want to drop $1,000 or more to get it. And like other mods, the 5G Moto Mod will work with other Motorola phones – though it’s only confirmed to work with the Moto Z2 for now (compatible at some point after the Z3, per the product’s page).
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Verizon will be getting the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the big, powerful 5G-compatible version of the Galaxy S10 flagship line. The phone is top-of-the-line, with impressive specs and a huge screen. It’s also expected to be pretty pricey. While we don’t have an official cost yet, the S10 Plus starts at $999 / £899 (about AU$1,398) and the 5G version outclasses it in most dimensions, so we’re expecting an even higher price tag.
The phone has a massive 6.7-inch AMOLED display, packs a Snapdragon 855 chipset and comes with 256GB storage and 8GB of RAM. Like the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, the 5G variant has a trio of rear lenses (12MP wide, 16MP ultrawide and 12MP telephoto) along with a time of flight sensor to measure depth. It’s even got one of these TOF sensors on the front to augment selfies.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will become available to Verizon customers in the first half of 2019.
LG V50 ThinQ 5G
At MWC 2019, Verizon announced a third phone will be usable on its 5G network this summer: the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. Verizon isn’t the only carrier that will support LG’s new flagship, and given the vague timelines all carriers are proposing, it’s unclear if, say, Verizon will be getting the V50 later than Sprint, which claims it’s getting the phone “in the coming months.”
In any case, the V50 is similar in size and appearance to last year’s V40 (down to the same 6.4-inch OLED screen), but with a few key differences. It packs the latest Snapdragon 855 processor, as expected from a 2019 flagship. But it also has two new changes: a bigger 4,000mAh battery and a vapor chamber to keep the phone powered and cool, respectively, during long media binge sessions.
We still don’t know how much the V50 5G will cost, but given its predecessor was priced at $900 (around £690 / AU$1260) for launch last fall, we expect the new 5G version to be around or a bit higher than that.
- MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar’s world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.