Iowa and Wisconsin first markets on multi-year path to bring 5G technology to its customers
KOHLER, WI – U.S. Cellular customers in Kohler will be among the first to have access to the benefits of the company’s 5G network as part of its planned rollout to Wisconsin and Iowa markets, beginning in the first quarter of 2020. 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 at the same time.
The transition is already underway on existing towers. Base stations are being replaced 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. The only cell towers in the Village of Kohler boundary are camouflaged on a Kohler Co. building.
This is the first phase of the company’s planned multi-year network expansion for 5G and is a result of previous network technology investments to modernize equipment and software.
“Wisconsin and Iowa 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 S. 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.”
Customers in the two states with 4G devices will begin to see increased network quality as cell towers are updated with new technology, which also supports 5G. The company is building a portfolio of 5G smartphones, connected devices and IoT solutions that will be available throughout 2020.
U.S. Cellular will begin turning on its 5G network in larger Wisconsin communities including parts of Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh and Racine with plans for 115 additional cities across Wisconsin.
Customers in Wisconsin, Iowa and additional markets in the company’s footprint will be notified when 5G is available to them through local advertising and targeted marketing in 2020 and beyond.
U.S. Cellular network equipment vendors, including Ericsson and Nokia, have played an important part in the modernization and deployment of the company’s 5G network through both hardware and software capabilities.
“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,” Irizarry said.