Verizon Opens Its Blazing Fast 5G Ultra-Wideband MmWave Network To Prepaid Customers

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Verizon is expanding access to its greater 5G network to its customers that prefer prepaid accounts. Verizon previously provided access to both its 5G Nationwide (sub-6GHz) and 5G Ultra-Wideband (mmWave) to its postpaid customers, however, only the former was available to prepaid accounts.

With this week's announcement, prepaid accounts will also gain access to the 5G Ultra-Wideband network, but it's not cheap. The new 5G unlimited data prepaid plan costs $75 per month, or $10/month more than what Verizon charges for the standard unlimited plan. That extra $10/month gets you access to month the fastest 5G speeds available in the United States with downlink speeds in excess of 1Gbps.

However, keep in mind that you'll be paying extra for a capability that is rare as hen's teeth in the United States. Verizon's mmWave footprint is incredibly small, as it's only currently available in 64 cities. On top of that, mmWave signals can barely penetrate through glass and won't penetrate buildings -- you'll need to be outside and within line-of-sight of a tower at close proximity to reach those 1Gbps to 2Gbps data transfer speeds.

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Verizon's 5G mmWave network is scares, and its sub-6GHz network is often slower than 4G (see above)

Verizon's 5G Nationwide network is more prevalent, and is offered in more than 2,700 cities across the country. However, speeds are barely faster than existing 4G LTE, and often slower. This is because Verizon is using Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), which leverages AI to automatically transmit both 4G and 5G signals at the same time based on customer demand. However, DSS results in compromised performance for 5G, which makes for a subpar experience for folks that have invested into a brand-new smartphone.

Imagine being a customer that has bought into the 5G hype with a new smartphone, only to see speeds that are slower than your old 4G LTE smartphone. And then with mmWave availability being a serious issue, many Verizon customers are probably scratching their heads wondering what the point was of upgrading.

Verizon does note that customers can whittle that $75/month prepaid plan pricing down over time. If you use Auto Pay, you'll get $5 off your monthly price. After three months of service, you'll get another $5 discount. After nine months of continued service, you'll get a final $5 discount. So, if you use Auto Pay and stick around for at least 9 months, you're looking at a monthly cost of $60/month.