U.S. Cellular launches LTE smartphone

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Regional wireless operator U.S. Cellular added some color to its LTE device plans, announcing the immediate availability of the Samsung Galaxy S Aviator. The device is set to run on the carrier’s LTE network that is available in select markets across Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. When that network is not available, the device will revert to the carrier’s CDMA-based offering.

U.S. Cellular priced the device at $100 after all rebates in select LTE markets, or $200 in the remaining markets. The handset includes a 4.3-inch screen, front and rear cameras, an HDMI port and runs Android 2.3 operating system.

U.S. Cellular said it plans to expand LTE coverage to markets in Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia by the end of the year, at which point it expects to have 54% of its current customer base covered by the technology.

U.S. Cellular was one of the few operators to reject offering Apple’s iPhone device, with reports noting the carrier found the financial obligation tied to the smartphone to ponderous. However, that could change if Apple rolls out an LTE version of the device as expected later this year. The carrier has instead focused its smartphone efforts on devices running the Android operating system. A number of smaller players have recently announced plans to begin offering the iPhone, though the current version of the device is still relegated to 3G networks.

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Dan Meyer

Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Software, Policy, Wireless Carriers
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Dan Meyer started at RCR Wireless News in 1999 covering wireless carriers and wireless technologies. As editor-in-chief, Dan oversees editorial direction, reports on news from the wireless industry, including telecom software, policy and wireless carriers, and provides opinion stories on topics of concern to the market such as his popular Friday column “Worst of the Week.”

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