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St. Paul now has 5G, too.

The capital city this week joined Minneapolis, Chicago and a handful of other places around the U.S. where Verizon Wireless Inc., the nation’s largest cellular-service provider, has upgraded a portion of its network to 5G, or fifth generation, technology.

Verizon said it added 5G service to cell sites in portions of downtown, Lowertown and the West Seventh neighborhoods in St. Paul. The coverage doesn’t include the Capitol and state government complex.

Verizon in early April rolled out 5G coverage in downtown Minneapolis, chiefly along a route from U.S. Bank Stadium to Target Center and along portions of Nicollet Mall.

The city, along with Chicago, became the first place in the nation where Verizon offered 5G service. It had prepared Minneapolis for the prospect more than a year earlier when it upgraded its fiber network and its existing 4G cell sites ahead of the 2018 Super Bowl, which the city played host to.

With a superfast fiber network in the ground, Verizon has to make relatively simple changes to antennas and equipments on poles to provide 5G coverage.

AT&T has said it will build 5G sites in Minneapolis this year.

In May, Samsung Electronics Co., the global leader in smartphone production and sales, began selling a 5G-enabled smartphone at $1,300. In tests in downtown Minneapolis, the phone regularly achieved download speeds surpassing 1 gigabit per second, or 1,000 megabits, about 16 times faster than a typical smartphone using the 4G network.

Evan Ramstad • 612-673-4241