Cellular South to offer Android phones

Cellular South, one of the largest privately held wireless providers, will offer an Android handset later this year.

Cellular South is the first US regional carrier to reveal their Android plans. Cellular South

Cellular South announced Tuesday that it would offer an Android handset later this year. It is a significant milestone for the Android mobile operating system as it marks the first time a regional carrier has revealed Android plans.

Kevin Hankins, COO of Mississippi-based Cellular South, said in a statement that his company is excited to offer customers the diversity of new and exciting applications from the open source Android platform. "Our customers will be able to easily access thousands of meaningful applications that will add tremendous value to their mobile experience and lifestyle," he said.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint are expected to offer Android handsets as well, but the major carriers have not made their plans public. If more smaller operators like Cellular South come onboard, it might place additional pressure on the big three to officially join the Android bandwagon.

Regional carriers are beginning to offer steep competition with lower priced flat rates and unlimited features. Cellular South currently offers a $49 smartphone plan with unlimited Web and text and 500 anytime minutes. If they were to offer a similar deal for their upcoming Android phone, it would be the cheapest deal of its kind in the US wireless market.

Currently. here are no details on which Android handset the carrier will offer. Cellular South offers phones from HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and LG, all of which have plans to launch new Android devices. Yet, chances are high that we'll see a completely new device from Cellular South, particularly since it uses a CDMA and EV-DO network (T-Mobile uses GSM). Cellular South is also set to offer the Dell Mini 10 Netbook, which has been demonstrated with Android.

Cellular South also unveiled its "You Dream It. We Build It." Android application contest. The promotion encourages customers to submit their dream mobile app ideas in 100 words or less. When the winner is selected, Cellular South will develop the application.

Now that a regional carrier is on board with Android, I hope more follow their lead. With the larger carriers still waiting to figure out their plans, it offers a unique opportunity for other companies to lure away new customers. This increased competition should benefit everyone by making unlimited data plans more affordable. Also, it is encouraging to see more carriers release their own Android applications and I hope this trend continues.

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