This week saw more progress in the US LTE market, with the news that U.S. Cellular would be launching an LTE network in March. It’s good news, especially for the future of intergalactic space travel. By this I mean, of course, that U.S. Cellular says that it will be covering the state of Iowa with LTE, which, as we all know, is where Captain Kirk will be born in the year 2225. (Well, at least in the original series, as opposed to the alternative timeline introduced in the 2009 movie where Kirk in born is space, but raised in Iowa. OK. Um.. too geeky?Um.. what were we talking about? OK, LTE in the US. Right).
U.S. Cellular said that it would offer two devices that would operate on its network; a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and a Samsung Galaxy Aviator 4G LTE. One issue this throws up is roaming. And not across the reaches of the galaxy either but simply across the US.
Although all US carriers operate LTE at 700MHz, they do so at different band plans and so aren’t necessarily compatible. It took a while for people to realise that you wouldn’t be able to roam between AT&T and Verizon. However, it seems that U.S. Cellular and Verizon both will use 700MHz A and B blocks, so they should theoretically be compatible as far as LTE roaming is concerned. Whether it will actually happen though, we’ll have to wait and see, but if it doesn’t happen, the attraction of LTE on U.S. Cellular could be severely curtailed for anyone that has to move outside of its footprint. It’s an issue that will become increasingly important as users get used to LTE. Once they have it at home, they’ll want it on the move – at least if they’re company is paying for the no doubt eye watering roaming charges. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on how the US solves it internally, as it could well have implications for the rest of the world too.