What you need to know

  • Verizon's first 5G phone (after the 5G Moto Mod) is now available starting at $1300
  • Verizon 5G available in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis
  • From $54/mo at Verizon — Galaxy S10 5G
  • Sprint's first 5G phone, the LG V50, coming May 31
  • Sprint 5G available in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Kansas City
  • From $24/mo at Sprint — LG V50 ThinQ

Verizon may have been the first to launch 5G, but Sprint is right on its tail with a big phone launch of its own.

This week, Verizon launched the Galaxy S10 5G, which is an upgraded version of the regular Galaxy S10+ with a few extra features. It's available to everyone at the carrier, but 5G service only works in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis right now, though it's rolling out to other cities in the coming weeks and months. The S10 5G is available starting at $54/month, or $1300 outright, for the variant with 256GB of storage. There's also a 512GB variant for an extra $4 per month, or $100.

Verizon's 5G service relies on ultra wideband frequencies, which travel very short distances but can carry huge amounts of data. That's why its service, while incredibly fast, is only available in a handful of areas throughout the cities they're launched, since they need considerable infrastructure.

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Sprint, on the other hand, is using its enormous swath of 2.5Ghz spectrum to launch 5G service, which has similar coverage potential to current higher-band LTE networks. That makes it relatively easier to blanket cities with 5G signal, though the top speeds aren't going to be quite as explosive as Verizon's (or AT&T's, which also uses UWB).

While Sprint will also launch the Galaxy S10 5G later this summer (it's a Verizon exclusive for now), its first 5G phone is the LG V50 ThinQ, a minor upgrade over the LG V40 released last year. It costs $24 per month on Sprint's Flex lease program, though its outright cost is still a stinging $1152 and will be available on May 31, though it's up for pre-order now in the cities Sprint's launched its next-gen network: Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Kansas City.

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