The Wisconsin launch represents the first phase of a multi-year 5G network expansion
In October, U.S. Cellular announced plans to rollout 5G technology for customers in Iowa and Wisconsin in the first quarter of 2020, and now, as Spring fast approaches, the operator has provided Wisconsin with its first 5G network in the city of Racine.
Racine was named a ‘Smart City’ last summer—the smallest city to receive the honor—which was undoubatavly a motivation behind U.S. Cellular’s decision to begin its 5G rollout there.
When the operator first revealed its intention to begin 5G operations in Wisconsin, it also stated that the initial 5G deployment will rely on its 600 MHz spectrum and would represent the first phase of a multi-year network expansion for its next-gen network.
“Iowa and Wisconsin are two of our largest markets and we’re excited to introduce 5G technology to customers in both urban and rural communities where other carriers have not,” said Michael Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer of U.S. Cellular. “Broader 5G coverage will provide our customers with even faster data connection speeds for a better experience when they do the things they love on their devices.”
“Bottom line is 5G is a great technology enabler,” U.S. Cellular COO Jay Ellison said. “If you think about what 4G did for wireless it created actual other industries, Uber wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for 4G. 5G has that next opportunity to create other industry capabilities down the road.”
European vendors Ericsson and Nokia have deployed hardware and software capabilities for the deployment of U.S. Cellular’s 5G network.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has maintained that it is important for Wisconsin to catch up to neighboring states when it comes to wireless technology, signing a bill in last summer that permitted for the expansion of 5G wireless technology in the state.
Based on previous U.S. Cellular statements, we can expect Racine’s 5G deployment to be followed by additional Wisconsin deployments in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and during the early months of 2020.
While officially launched, the 5G network remains inaccessible. However, Samsung and U.S. Cellular are releasing a 5G-compatible phone in early Match, with additional 5G products expected for later in 2020.
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