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4G/3G/WiFi

US Cellular Joins Google's Project Fi

Google has announced that US Cellular has joined Project Fi, its initiative to create a mobile network based on 4G and WiFi technologies throughout the US.

The fifth-biggest mobile operator in the country, US Cellular becomes Project Fi's third network partner, after Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. , and should help Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to improve the coverage and speed of its service. (See Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here.)

US Cellular's network is available in 23 states and is said to provide 4G coverage for more than 99% of customers across urban and rural areas.

Google has essentially become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) through Project Fi, but it differs from other MVNOs by drawing on the resources of several partners, instead of just one.


For all the latest news from the wireless networking and services sector, check out our dedicated mobile content channel here on Light Reading.


According to the search engine giant, this means it can provide much-higher quality services to consumers by selecting the best network in a specific neighborhood at a particular time.

"By analyzing speeds from each network, Project Fi is able to predict the fastest network at your location -- down to the city block -- and automatically connect you," said Google in a statement. "We're constantly adapting to consider how factors like new cell towers and newly available radio frequencies are impacting real-world speeds."

The downside is that only Google's own Nexus phones feature the technology allowing devices to switch seamlessly from one network to another.

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

Joe Stanganelli 6/12/2016 | 12:41:12 AM
Good deal This is a great deal for both companies. US Cellular is the biggest outside the "big 4," so it's alliance w/ Google can only mean good things for it to help it grow, and Google gets the benefits of working with a near-top cellular provider w/o dealing with its more direct and aggressive competitors (e.g., AT&T, Verizon, etc.).
Gabriel Brown 6/10/2016 | 10:37:00 AM
Re: NO downside. Interesting comment. Care to elaborate on what you like about it? Any idea how often it switches access network?

I can see a few parts to it:

1. The ability to switch network where signal is poor. This is an obvious benefit. I wonder how effective it is in practice. Does it hit battery life?

2.The cost management part, the data rollovers, etc. This is important in the market, but not so much a concern for me personally as I get a pretty good deal already.

3. I guess also the "googley" nature of it attractive to some. Is ths basically a brand preference?

4. Have you ever had to call customer support?

Thanks
tojofay 6/10/2016 | 9:39:22 AM
NO downside. As a ProFi guy there is no downside. A fantastic experience! The future is here and Google brought it.

 
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