U.S. Cellular, the nation's sixth-largest network, plans to roll out 4G, its CFO announced. Unlike Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, the carrier is rather relaxed in its timing.
U.S. Cellular, the nation's sixth-largest carrier, is moving ahead with
plans to deploy an LTE network in 2012, although at a relaxed pace, according
At the Wells Fargo Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in New
Cellular Executive Vice President and CFO Steven Campbell said the carrier
plans to launch one LTE test market late in 2011, before rolling out a
large-scale deployment in 2012, Fierce
reported Nov. 11.
"I don't think we're feeling a sense of crisis or urgency," Campbell
said, according to the report, which added that Campbell
said the carrier is open to working out a deal with network wholesalers such as
Clearwire and LightSquared. Sprint
and Time Warner Cable
, for example, currently offer 4G services using
Clearwire's WiMax-based 4G network.
U.S. Cellular currently has 6.1 million subscribers and a network that's-like
Verizon's and Sprint's-built on CDMA technology, versus the GSM used by
AT&T and T-Mobile, and from which LTE is derived.
The carrier's relaxed pace is hardly indicative of the wider market, in
which its competitors are racing as smartphone adoption-and with it the need
for increased data speeds-grows. Verizon Wireless plans to roll out its LTE
network any time now, with 38
metropolitan areas, as well as 60 commercial airports
, on track to be
covered by year's end. AT&T plans to roll out its 4G efforts in 2011, and
T-Mobile recently jumped ahead of the pack, in deciding to call its speedy
HSPA+ network 4G.
On Nov. 3, T-Mobile debuted
a national television commercial
in which it refers to itself as "America's
Largest 4G Network." In a statement that day, T-Mobile CTO
Neville Ray said 4G "is about performance," adding, "Today
T-Mobile's HSPA+ network is delivering 4G speeds that match and often beat WiMax
and are readily comparable to what early LTE will deliver."
Also jumping ahead of its larger competitors to get to 4G was MetroPCS
Communications, which in September announced that it had activated LTE-based 4G
services in Las Vegas. The carrier,
which as of September had 7.9 million subscribers, says it plans to cover 80
percent of its CDMA coverage area by the first quarter of 2011.
According to Fierce Wireless, Campbell
said U.S. Cellular will choose its lead LTE vendor early next year.
MetroPCS, for its part, has chosen Samsung and Ericsson; Verizon primarily
uses Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent; and AT&T will likewise use Alcatel-Lucent
and Ericsson for its radio access network. AT&T is currently beginning the
process of upgrading its network to HSPA+, before making the transition to LTE,
and during its third-quarter earnings call, CFO Rick Lindner talked up both,
saying that when customers transition off of AT&T's 4G network, they'll
still have a "very, very good experience on HSPA+ ... versus other carriers,
where you will see a significant decrease in speeds when you're out of their 4G
However, during Verizon's third-quarter earnings call the following day,
Verizon CFO John Killian seemingly dismissed this, stating that Verizon's 4G
LTE network will cover "virtually all of the company's current nationwide