Verizon Communications (VZ -0.68%) announced on Tuesday that it has launched its highly anticipated next-generation mobile service throughout the country. A great many of the carrier's customers will theoretically be able to access its 5G Nationwide, as the network covers an area occupied by 200 million people in 1,800 municipalities throughout the country.

But 5G Nationwide runs on a technology that allows the aging 4G LTE standard and 5G services to run simultaneously. Experts say that for Verizon, this provides an initial modest increase in speed, at best, over the wireless data services widely available in recent years.

Woman in face mask using a smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images.

Verizon said, though, that its 5G Ultra Wideband -- which runs on high-band millimeter wave frequencies that can support far more robust 5G functionality -- is now available in limited parts of 55 cities. They include Syracuse, New York; Baltimore; Milwaukee; Tucson, Arizona; and San Francisco.

The company added that it has brought 5G Ultra Wideband to 19 new sports stadiums and arenas. Venues now in the network include Citi Field (home of the New York Mets), Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It is also now accessible in certain spaces in airports such as O'Hare in Chicago, Minneapolis-St Paul International, and San Antonio (Texas) International.

Verizon's launch coincides with the official introduction of Apple's new line of iPhones. Each of the four iPhone 12 models has 5G capability, and like their predecessors will be available for purchase through Verizon. 

Verizon promises that this is just the start of its 5G push. It quoted its CTO Kyle Malady as saying, "[W]e are not only speeding deployment, but also advancing 5G technology itself."