Beginning today, pockets of Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin can get LTE speeds at 3Mbit/s to 6Mbit/s on the tablet. The wireless operator will expand its network to nine more states in the second half of the year, as well as launch the Samsung Galaxy S Aviator next month.
Why this matters
U.S. Cellular beat Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. to the punch in becoming the fifth LTE operator in the U.S. Its network isn't likely to have the big guys scared, though.
That's because its LTE reach will remain regional even when it's complete. And like fellow regional operator Cricket Communications Inc. , its speeds won't match the big guys. (See 4G: Cricket's Tiny Channels.)
At least for its first device, pricing is pretty steep too. U.S. Cellular is offering $100 off the $499 Galaxy Tab to promote its initial LTE market launches, but the data plans run $15 for 200MB of data per month and $55 for 5GB. Overage fees run 25 cents per megabyte, which would equate to $256 per gigabyte, roughly $246 more than what most wireless operators charge. However, U.S. Cellular is capping monthly overage fees at $200. [Ed. note: So, you got that going for ya.]
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