U.S. Cellular offered a company executive said it would begin testing early next year. According to Steven Campbell, CFO and executive vice president, the regional carrier will select its first trial market in late 2011 with full commercial deployment following in 2012. Campbell made the remarks while speaking at the Wells Fargo Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in New York.on its next-generation LTE network yesterday when
U.S. Cellular has yet to select an LTE equipment vendor, but Fierce Wireless reported that the carrier is open to securing deals with companies likeand Ligtsquad, particularly if they can provide additional spectrum. Campbell did not offer additional details and said only that the carrier was not feeling "a sense of crisis or urgency."
If the 2012 date holds, however, U.S. Cellular will be far behind its rivals in rolling out a next generation network (though carriers bill them as such, LTE and the competing WiMax standard). Sprint has its WiMax network since it in 2008 and Verizon Wireless has by the end of the year. Also, regional carrier MetroPCS now operates LTE service in , , and Las Vegas.
As the the nation's sixth largest provider after the "big four" (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T) and MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular serves 6.1 million customers in 26 states scattered around the center of the country, New England, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southeast.