What’s the frequency, Kenneth? US Cellular boss discusses 5G spectrum challenges

31 Oct 2019

Following the announcement that US Cellular will launch 5G mobile services in Iowa and Wisconsin during the first quarter of 2020, CEO Kenneth Meyers has discussed the challenges of securing sufficient spectrum to support its fifth-generation ambitions. In comments made at MWC Los Angeles – as quoted by SDX Central – Meyers noted: ‘We are joining the 5G race with everybody else.’ The acquisition of mid-band spectrum remains a priority, however, with the CEO adding: ‘We need a lot of it, and we need it as soon as possible. Why? Because we will never get the coverage out of [millimetre wave] that we need if we’re really going to try to cover vast areas of this country.’

US Cellular’s initial 5G network deployments will utilise the 600MHz band, but the operator eventually plans to install mmWave transmitters on macro towers and small cells. However, Meyers remains sceptical of the coverage properties of mmWave spectrum, admitting: ‘We did buy a considerable amount of [mmWave] and we bought it because that was what was available … With enough time and money there isn’t anything an engineer can’t overcome.’