U.S. Cellular has joined the ranks of U.S. carriers with commercial LTE service, launching the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 as its first LTE-capable device. The carrier has 6.1 million subscribers.
U.S. Cellular, in partnership with King Street Wireless, currently offers 4G LTE service in select cities in Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. In the second half of this year, 4G LTE coverage will expand to cover select cities in Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. Here are coverage maps. About 25 percent of U.S. Cellular’s customers are within reach of the LTE network now, and 54 percent will have LTE coverage by year’s end, the company said.
The carrier is completing its LTE rollout in partnership with King Street Wireless, which holds 152 licenses of 700 MHz spectrum in 27 states.
Four Regional operators have now announced LTE plans:
- Dallas-based MetroPCS, the fifth largest facilities-based wireless carrier in the United States, currently has 500,000 LTE subscribers out of a customer base of 9.34 million–roughly 5 percent–similar to the percentage of LTE users on Verizon Wireless.
- U.S. Cellular says it will have about half of its 6 million subscribers within LTE coverage by year’s end.
- Cricket provider Leap Wireless launched in Tucson, Arizona, the beginning of the company’s planned, multi-year transition of its existing 3G network to 4G LTE. The company has some 5.5 million subscribers.
- C Spire Wireless launches LTE service in 20 markets in Mississippi in September. C Spire operates a network that covers Mississippi and parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. The company has close to 900,000 total subscribers.
The four national US operators offering or announcing LTE service include
- Verizon’s LTE service now covers some 200 million POPs in 196 markets.
- 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
- 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.
- Sprint Nextel currently offers 4G WiMax service through partner Clearwire. Clearwire plans to launch their TD-LTE network using the 2.6 GHz band in 2013, with other providers such as Cricket Wireless, buying spectrum wholesale.