U.S. Cellular has been talking up its forthcoming 4G LTE network for some time now, but up until today, the carrier had yet to dive into any details about what kinds of devices it'll be releasing in order to allow customers to gain access to that network. Now TDS CEO Ted Carlson (TDS is the parent company of U.S. Cellular) has provided some insight into what we can expect from U.S. Cellular's LTE lineup in 2012. Speaking at the Citi Global Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications Conference, Carlson said that the first LTE device that U.S. Cellular releases will be a tablet and that it's currently expected to arrive by the end of the first quarter. The carrier's first LTE phone will come to market shortly thereafter, as will a mobile hotspot. Carlson added that he believes that U.S. Cellular will launch another three or four LTE products toward the end of 2012.
Carlson also took the opportunity to talk a bit about U.S. Cellular's LTE network itself, saying that the carrier will roll out LTE coverage to 24 markets in the first quarter of the year. That works out to be around 25 percent of U.S. Cellular's footprint. U.S. Cellular expects to cover another 25 percent of its footprint with LTE by the end of the year, with a full LTE rollout taking around three years to finish. Lastly, Carlson said that U.S. Cellular is still interested in acquiring more spectrum, especially of the 700MHz variety, after the demise of AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile.
Although U.S. Cellular hasn't officially disclosed which LTE tablet and smartphone will be the first to grace its network, an FCC filing from last month mentioned that the carrier is working with the same manufacturer on both devices. Previous leaks have shown that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 may be U.S. Cellular-bound and could well be the LTE tablet question, but the handset is still a bit of a mystery. One of the aforementioned leaks also showed that a Galaxy S II may also be headed to U.S. Cellular, so that's certainly one possibility. We'll keep our ears to the ground and let you know more when we do. What do all of you U.S. Cellular folk make of this news? Are you looking forward to giving the LTE network a go?
Via Fierce Wireless