Since last year’s 3G speed review, US Cellular has not changed much except for one major announcement:
US Cellular 4G speed via LTE.
Currently, US Cellular 3G speeds fall below industry standards by 2-3 times the advertised average despite using the same technology as Sprint and Verizon.
US Cellular advertises speeds of 768 Kbps or 0.7 Mbps downloading while Sprint and Verizon advertise up to 3.1 Mbps on their 3G EVDO networks.
While 3.1 Mbps represents the maximum 3G potential, average speeds still range from 600 – 1400 Kbps (0.6 Mbps – 1.4 Mbps).
While this may still allow US Cellular to compete on the 3G frontier, all major providers have gone on to advertise faster 4G speeds using WiMAX, HSPA+ and LTE (Sprint, T-Mobile/AT&T & Verizon respectively). The question naturally becomes:
When will US Cellular join the 4G speed showdown?
US Cellular 4G Speed
US Cellular announced plans to launch an LTE network, the same technology/infrastructure Verizon currently uses to provide 4G speeds, to one market by the end of 2011. A larger scale 4G LTE launch would then take place throughout 2012.
U.S. Cellular spokesman Steve Carlson told FierceWireless that the carrier is still evaluating the results of its LTE trial and has not selected its vendors.
U.S. Cellular is the nation’s six-largest wireless carrier, and ended the fourth quarter with 6.07 million total subscribers. The company has said it will launch one LTE test market in late 2011, and that it expects a large-scale LTE deployment to follow in 2012.
While Verizon currently offers average 4G speeds of 5 –12 Mbps downloading 2-5 Mbps uploading, there’s no word yet on whether US Cellular 4G speeds will rival this.
Last year, US Cellular qualified as a regional carrier.
This year, thanks to a roaming partnership with Verizon, they provide nationwide 3G coverage.
Where they may provide 4G LTE coverage with or without a Verizon partnership remains to be seen.
Also in this review: