US Cellular to extend LTE to 30 new markets
North American carrier US Cellular has announced that it will be bringing LTE to 30 new markets from Monday 5 November 2012. The operator said that the service would go live in cities in Iowa, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia – though specific cities were not mentioned.
The network is run by partner King Street Wireless, which holds 700MHz spectrum in 27 States. US Cellular launched LTE back in March, having been delayed from its original plan to launch at the end of 20111. The operator said that by the end of 2012, 58 per cent of its customers will have access to 4G LTE speeds.
Handset wise US Cellular offers Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Metrix and the Samsung Galaxy Note II, while USB and wifi-based devices are available in the guise of the Huawei UML397 4G LTE Wireless Modem and the Samsung SCH-LC11 mobile hotspot.
The operator said that it was the only US network to offer benefits to its customers such as no-contract after the first, free overage protection and free battery swap.
In a recent interview with Telecoms.com Erik Neitzel, DMTS, Technology, Development Group, U.S. Cellular praised the mobile industry as one of the most innovative in the world, observing that networks are 100 times faster than they were ten years ago. However, he was critical of the spectrum harmonisation issues that the industry currently faces, stating that there are seven different bands targeted for commercial LTE use in North America alone. “It is critical that government agencies, operators, network equipment manufacturers (NEMS), and device OEMs work together to ensure band compatibility for LTE in order to provide complete and diverse coverage options for users,” he said.