Regional wireless carrier C Spire Wireless will launch LTE service in 20 markets in Mississippi in September, a significant delay from C Spire’s initial goal of rolling out LTE by the end of 2011, reports Fierce Wireless. C Spire, formerly known as Cellular South, announced in November 2010 that it would launch an LTE network on its 700 MHz spectrum in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The four national US operators have also announced LTE services. Verizon’s LTE service now covers some 200 million POPs in 196 markets, while AT&T’s LTE service now covers some 74 million POPs in 28 markets.
Sprint Nextel plans to launch LTE by mid-year on their new PCS band, while T-Mobile USA intends to launch LTE in 2013 in the AWS band. Clearwire will use their 2.6 GHz spectrum to deliver TD-LTE in 2013, after Sprint’s FD-LTE in the PCS (1.9 GHz) band.
Verizon says so far only about five percent of its customers are using LTE. Verizon plans to buy $3.9 billion worth of AWS spectrum (1.7/2.1 GHz), from cable operators.
The deal has been opposed by Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS and some smaller carriers. The Justice Department is looking into the marketing deals, and the FCC today said it will review parts of the agreements as it examines the airwaves sale. The FCC posted queries to Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable on its website today.