Technically, the first 5G-compatible iPhones won’t be released until 2020 at the earliest. But, starting today, Verizon subscribers may be able to take advantage of 5G speeds on their current devices.
The carrier announced on Thursday that it is expanding its current roster of 5G cities to include St. Paul, Minnesota. It also announced an exclusive partnership with hotspot maker Inseego to begin selling the highly anticipated MiFi M1000 5G hotspot to Verizon customers.
Basically, the MiFi M1000 will let Verizon users get 5G speeds by connecting their own devices via Wi-Fi or ethernet. That means you can use your current-generation iPhone, iPad or MacBook with it.
The hotspot has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem, a 4,400mAh battery, a 2.4-inch touchscreen, dual-band Wi-Fi 5, and support for existing 4G LTE networks (so it can still work if it’s not in an area with a 5G network).
Of course, there are some major caveats to the device and Verizon’s related 5G plan.
For one, Verizon’s 5G is extremely limited in scope. You can only find it in five cities across the U.S. currently, including St. Paul, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis,
The hotspot and 5G data will also won’t come cheap. Existing Unlimited plan subscribers can add up to 50GB worth of 5G hotspot data and 15GB of 4G LTE data to their plans for $30 a month.
As we’ve seen, most users will probably blow through that amount of data pretty quickly. And once they do, 5G speeds will be throttled down to 3Mbps and 4G LTE speeds will be reduced to 600Kbps.
Verizon’s blazing-fast 5G speeds will also only apply to downloads on the hotspot — uploads will rely on 4G LTE but won’t count against the 4G LTE data cap. If you take the hotspot outside of a city that has 5G, it’ll default back to 4G LTE.
If none of those things are dealbreakers, you’ll need to buy the MiFi M1000 hotspot itself. It costs $650 to buy outright or $500 on a two-year contract.
In other words, you can start using 5G on your current iPhone today. But if you’re the average consumer, it may be best to hold off being an early adopter.