updated 08:20 pm EDT, Sat May 7, 2011
US Cellular to have LTE with 25pc coverage
US Cellular on Friday leapt on 4G with its own plans for an LTE network. The carrier planned to have at least 25 percent of its network covered by the end of 2011 and would focus on cities that haven't been priorities for Verizon. Some of the first cities would include Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine in Wisconsin; Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Des Moines in Iowa; Greenville in North Carolina; and both Bangor and Portland in Maine.
Multiple 4G devices would be paired up with the launch, though what these would be wasn't given out. LTE would continue to expand through the course of 2012.
The addition of LTE would make US Cellular one of the earlier adopters of the much faster cellular Internet access in the US. Verizon already has an established network and hopes to be largely done by sometime in 2013. AT&T is due for its first commercial service before the end of 2011. Sprint hasn't given more than minor hints of a 4G switch so far, and T-Mobile is now mostly depending on a buyout by AT&T to get a fast track.
Moving to LTE will eventually let customers on AT&T switch to US Cellular without necessarily having to switch devices, and those on Verizon and other US LTE networks switch without the difficult and sometimes impossible device reactivation process on CDMA. It could eventually allow an LTE-equipped iPhone to work on multiple US carriers without needing separate hardware.