U.S. Cellular is launching 5G in two markets in early 2020

What you need to know

  • Low-band 5G is launching on U.S. Cellular in the first quarter of 2020
  • 4G equipment upgrades add support for 5G on 600Mhz spectrum.
  • Parts of Iowa and Wisconsin will be upgraded first with 5G phones and service launching as it's ready.

In the first phase of a multi-year plan, U.S. Cellular is upgrading its 4G towers to new equipment that supports improvements in 4G as well as low-band 5G. Similar to the deployment we've seen from companies like Sprint, U.S. Cellular's upgraded network equipment will not only support improvements for 4G LTE, but it will also support for 5G running on 600Mhz spectrum.

This 600Mhz network, along with other enhancements like moving radio equipment higher on the towers, can lead to better coverage in rural communities. Software-upgradeable base stations can further enhance the network by adding support for new 5G features without adding new equipment.

Customers will be notified when 5G becomes available to them through local advertising and targeted marketing in 2020. A portfolio of 5G capable devices will become available throughout 2020.

Customers can expect to see coverage first in specific parts of Iowa and Wisconsin.

  • Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Davenport, IA
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Dubuque, IA
  • Waterloo, Ia
  • Green Bay, WI
  • Madison, WI
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Oshkosh, WI
  • Racine, WI

While U.S. Cellular is sticking to its low-band spectrum for 5G, it will improve coverage. Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Michael S. Irizarry said:

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.

Explaining 5G: Millimeter wave, sub-6, low-band and other terms you need to know

Samuel Contreras

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.