Archive for category U.S. Cellular
Continuing its 4G LTE device rollout, U.S. Cellular recently launched the Samsung SCH-LC11 Mobile Hotspot. The small 2.7 ounce Samsung Hotspot can withstand three hours of heavy use in a single charge and can connect up to five devices simultaneously at 4G LTE speeds.
While more businesses beyond the local coffee shop are expanding free Wi-Fi services, a mobile hot spot can be handy for movers and shakers on the go. The Hotspot’s ability to connect multiple devices at a time means that users don’t have to choose between their smartphone and tablet. The only downside is that you have to be willing to pay for another data plan.
For mobile users on the go, customers can pick up the Samsung SCH-LC11 Mobile Hotspot for for $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a 2 year contract.
Given that my personal cell provider is US Cellular, I was pretty excited to get my hands on its first 4G LTE device and potentially my new smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S Aviator.
The Aviator’s touch screen measures in at 4.3 inches. The size seemed to be a good compromise between practicality and flashiness. The screen is big enough to text, watch videos and browse web pages easily, but sleek enough where it doesn’t feel like an inconvenience to tote around. Actually, if two features that you look for in a mobile are thin and lightweight, I would definitely look into the Aviator.
Aside from the design, a few other notable features include the camera and HDMI output. The 8 – megapixel rear camera takes good pictures, similar to that of the iPhone 4s or Galaxy S Skyrocket. The HDMI output allows users to connect to other devices to watch videos or movies on bigger screens. While I’m not that savvy on how to utilize the HDMI port, it seems pretty convenient if that’s your thing.
The Aviator’s biggest draw is its 4G LTE capability. I was expecting the device to default to the 4G LTE setting, but I found I had to do some Google work to switch the settings. Through my searches, I also found that keeping your mobile in 3G unless you’re doing heavy web surfing or downloading will make a significant impact on your battery life. So if battery life is important, try keeping it in 3G whenever possible.
When I did switch the Aviator to 4G LTE, there was I a dramatic improvement when running the applications and browsing the web. Loading and streaming videos had little buffering time, and downloading web pages was a breeze. Unfortunately, the 4G LTE network is currently only available in some areas including Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Appleton, Monroe, Platteville and Portage, so Wisconsin residents outside elsewhere in the state won’t be able to take advantage of the 4G LTE network just yet.
Aside from network issues, I hope the device is in the running for the Android Ice Cream Sandwich update. Straight out the box, the Aviator currently runs Android’s Gingerbread platform, which is fine for the short term. Though as newer devices are coming out with Ice Cream Sandwich, it would be good to see an update made available for the Aviator to keep it as current as possible.
Generally, I like US Cellular’s choice to go with the Samsung Aviator as its first 4G LTE smartphone. As I mentioned earlier, the device is flashy but still user friendly and includes all the bells and whistles you could want in a smartphone. In the future, I’d like to see a software upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich and less work to connect to 4G LTE.
The Aviator is currently available for $199 with a two-year contract in most US Cellular stores. However, if you live in one of US Cellular’s new 4G LTE network areas, you will receive a $100 rebate and only pay $99 for the Aviator. Though I had problems with the 4G LTE network initially, it’s still worth going into a US Cellular store and seeing it for yourself, especially for only $99.
After US Cellular’s announcement earlier this year that it would be rolling out its in 4G LTE network starting in March, I was interested to see what devices would also be introduced in conjunction with the new network.
US Cellular chose the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 as its first 4G LTE device. The Galaxy line from Samsung has been a hit for several other carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, so it’s a safe move for US Cellular to bring the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to its customers. On the other hand though, some devices on this line have already been on the market for the last six months and, with the Apple’s new iPad out as well, customers may be looking for something new.
The Galaxy Tab’s 10.1-inch screen is similar in size as other tablets including the new iPad and HTC Jetstream. Users concerned about size and bulkiness shouldn’t worry; I found the Galaxy Tab to fit easily into my bag without adding a noticeable amount of weight or bulk. My only grievance with the design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the power button on the side that’s easy to hit. There were a few times while watching a video I would accidently hit the power button and shut down the tablet. However, I’m sure this problem can be easily avoided with regular use.
With the 4G LTE network, I was expecting the Galaxy Tab to make smooth transitions, have little video buffering and speedy downloads. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Transitioning from applications to web browsing was a breeze. If you’re anxious to upgrade your current device to 4G LTE, I would definitely suggest checking out the Galaxy Tab. While the tablet currently runs Android’s Honeycomb software, I’m hoping that an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich will become available to users in the near future.
If you’re interested in picking up a new tablet, check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for $399 after $100 rebate and a two-year agreement.
US Cellular was recently recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as a 2012 Customer Service Champion.
The Customer Service Champions were identified based on customer feedback, opinion and perceptions gathered from J.D. Power’s syndicated research in 2011. US Cellular was the largest full-service wireless carrier to earn the distinction. US Cellular, along with 50 other companies, was recognized as service a champion.
As a major wireless provider in Wisconsin, it’s great to see US Cellular be recognized for its customer service. Aside from earning J.D. Power’s Customer Service Champion award, US Cellular was also recognized for its wireless quality in the North Central region, an area that includes Wisconsin.
U.S. Cellular customers looking for a smartphone upgrade can now consider the popular Samsung Galaxy S II among their choices. U.S. Cellular released the S II March 1.
The Samsung Galaxy S II has been a popular Android-powered smartphone for AT&T and I’m excited to see other providers carry it. The lightweight mega-screen smartphone is a good fit for an experienced smartphone user looking for something a little flashier (see my entire review here).
With a two year contract, customers can pick up the Samsung Galaxy S II $229.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate.
Check back soon to see for a review on U.S. Cellular’s Galaxy S II which has slightly different specs and applications.
Several mobile carriers in Wisconsin recently made announcements regarding infrastructure updates, improved data plans and capital expenditures. Wisconsin mobile users should expect faster and better mobile service in the coming months. See below for specific announcements from Wisconsin providers.
AT&T announced yesterday it has invested $450 million from 2008-2011 in the Milwaukee area to improve mobile broadband coverage and overall performance. Upgrades include more than 250 network enhancements to deploy 4G speed and increase cell site capacity. The Milwaukee-area upgrades are just a portion of the $1 billion AT&T invested in Wisconsin mobile infrastructure since 2008.
Verizon announced earlier this week plans to launch its family data plan. As mobile consumers continue to purchase and use more than one device, the family data plan is an opportunity to combine data and save money in the long run. This could be a great option for families who already use ‘family plans’ to budget talking minutes and text messages or for someone looking to share data between a smartphone and tablet. Verizon will begin its family data plan rollout midyear.
US Cellular recently announced a slew of Wisconsin cities that will be getting 4G LTE access in 2012 (see my post here). Also, the popular Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II (see my review here) will be available to US Cellular customers sometime in March.
Cellcom engineers recently completed testing on three 4G cell sites located in Sturgeon Bay. Sturgeon Bay is just part of Cellcom’s first phase of 4G LTE rollout that also includes Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Wausau, and parts of Oconto and Marinette Counties. An additional 69 cell sites will light up by the end of 2012 in the second phase of the company’s 4G launch.
Just as U.S. Cellular is preparing to roll out its new 4G LTE devices in March in already identified markets around the country, the firm announced a second-round of cities to next experience high-speed 4G LTE services. Wisconsin residents no longer have to envy their Chicago friends because included in the upgrade list are a number of cities here. U.S. Cellular should be finished with its upgrades by the second half of 2012.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be the first available 4G LTE product available through U.S. Cellular followed by Samsung Galaxy S Aviator smartphone. Customers can also pick up the 4G LTE mobile hotspot to ensure their devices can connect to Wi-Fi anywhere.
While some Wisconsin cities won’t have access to 4G LTE until late 2012, it’s good to see that smaller Wisconsin cities will have high-speed service coming. Check out the list of cities below for all 4G LTE services coming to Wisconsin. If you don’t live in one of the cities listed below, don’t worry. Verizon also has coverage in the state, including Appleton, Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh and Wisconsin Dells.
South Beaver Dam
West la Crosse