Chicago-based mobile operator US Cellular has announced that it is poised to launch its long-rumoured Long Term Evolution (LTE) network next month, in association with wholly-owned subsidiary King Street Wireless. The US Cellular unit won 152 regional concessions for 700MHz frequencies in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spectrum auction in early-2008, paying a total of USD401 million for the licences. US Cellular’s March launch will see the LTE network go live in Iowa, Wisconsin, Maine, North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma, including a number of the cellco’s leading markets, such as Milwaukee, Madison and Racine (all Wisconsin); Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport (all Iowa); Portland and Bangor (Maine); and Greenville (North Carolina). US Cellular claims to be the first wireless carrier to offer LTE in several of these markets. The next wave of market deployments will be announced later this month, with the LTE network scheduled to cover around 25% of the cellco’s operational footprint by year-end.