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U.S. Cellular advances 5G strategy with purchases of millimeter wave spectrum

CHICAGO: United States Cellular Corporation (NYSE:USM) successfully bid for high frequency spectrum in recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Millimeter Wave Spectrum Auctions and purchased licenses covering 98 percent of its subscribers for USD 256.0 million or 1.7 cents per MHz pop.

In the 28 GHz Auction (Auction 101), the company spent $129.4 million or 2.1 cents per MHz pop acquiring 408 licenses covering 60 percent of its subscriber base with at least 425 MHz of millimeter wave spectrum.

In the 24 GHz Auction (Auction 102), the company spent $126.6 million or 1.5 cents per MHz pop acquiring 282 licenses covering 93 percent of its subscribers.

Together the auctions allowed U.S. Cellular to acquire at least 300 MHz of spectrum in markets that serve 97 percent of its customer base.

Our 5G network strategy envisions the use of a variety of spectrum bands over time, said Kenneth R. Meyers, U.S. Cellular president and CEO. Our initial 5G deployment will be on our 600 MHz spectrum to provide enhanced broadband speed and capacity over our entire footprint with the expectation that we will be able to augment it with mid and high band spectrum over time as the technology and use cases continue to evolve. With our success in the millimeter wave auctions, we can now cover most of our subscribers with at least 300 MHz of millimeter wave licenses which will enable U.S. Cellular to provide its customers with the leading edge capabilities 5G is promising.

Meyers continued, We applaud the FCC for conducting these millimeter wave auctions and fully support their efforts to bring mid-band spectrum to the marketplace quickly. Spectrum is the lifeblood of this industry as we continue to ensure that we can meet the growing demand for data services, as well as create new opportunities for new services requiring high speed, reliability and low latency.

Network quality has always been the foundation of our strategy, said Michael S. Irizarry, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. As we continue our multi-year network modernization plan and increase the speed and performance of our network, we are readying our network with the foundational network elements to deliver innovative services for our customers.

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U.S. Cellular advances 5G strategy with purchases of millimeter wave spectrum


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