U.S. Cellular to launch 5G network in Iowa and Wisconsin in first quarter

U.S. Cellular said it will launch 5G network targeting customers in Iowa and Wisconsin — beginning in the first quarter of 2020.
U.S. Cellular CTO Michael S Irizarry
The company’s initial 5G deployment will be on its 600 MHz spectrum and will provide customers with faster data speeds, a more responsive mobile experience and the ability to connect more devices to the network.

U.S. Cellular network equipment vendors include Ericsson and Nokia. U.S. Cellular is not using 5G equipment from Huawei and ZTE.

The company is replacing the base stations with software-upgradable basebands, meaning new 5G features can be incorporated by adding new software rather than from a hardware replacement. It also involves moving the radios up the tower, which improves coverage in rural communities.

Michael S. Irizarry, chief technology officer of U.S. Cellular, said: “We are rapidly moving across our footprint to bring 5G to as many of our customers as possible over the coming years. We expect to augment the network with mid- and high-band spectrum over time as the technology and use cases continue to evolve.”

Smartphone customers in the two states with 4G phones will begin to see increased network quality as U.S. Cellular’s engineers start updating cell towers with new technology, which also supports 5G. The company is building 5G smartphones, connected devices and IoT solutions.

U.S. Cellular’s 5G network will cover parts of Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque and Waterloo in Iowa, and parts of Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh and Racine in Wisconsin.