Verizon added software support for the 5G Moto Mod to the 2017 Moto Z2 Force, retroactively making it the oldest phone that supports 5G.
Motorola’s “Moto Mod” ecosystem of pogo-pin connected accessories that work across different phones has long received lukewarm enthusiasm—most of the available mods have been glorified battery packs, with others like the Moto GamePad bringing first-party attention to gaming controls in a way scarcely seen since the Sony Xperia Play.
That said, the Moto Mod ecosystem allows Motorola and Verizon to make 5G available to existing phones through the use of the 5G Moto Mod—for an added $349 upfront, with additional service fees, and Verizon’s 5G services is presently only available in Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN, Denver, CO, Providence, RI, St. Paul, MN, Atlanta, GA, Detroit, MI, Indianapolis, IN, and Washington, DC.
SEE: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Originally, the 5G Moto Mod was usable only for the Moto Z4 and Z3, which CNET called an “anomaly,” and “the cheapest 5G phone you can buy but shouldn’t.” Support was extended this week to the 2017-era Moto Z2 Force, as observed by The Verge, making it (in a retroactive sense) the oldest phone to support 5G.
CNET’s Jessical Dolcourt noted that the 5G Moto Mod itself is not optimal, finding that “Moto Mod’s cumbersome magnetic attachment isn’t the way you want to use 5G,” and that on day-one tests in Chicago, “the battery on the Moto Mod I was using completely drained, my 5G cut out too.”
The Moto Z2 Force isn’t available new, and with the relatively high price of the Moto Mod, additional service fees, and limited availability of 5G at present, the potential applicability of this is not the highest, but it does give Verizon another phone to point to as supporting 5G.