Chicago-based UScellular has announced that it has been awarded over USD 5.8 million from the Missouri Cell Towers Grant Program to improve mobile and in-home connectivity in multiple counties across the state. The Missouri Cell Towers Grant Program is dedicated to investing in the expansion of cellular service throughout the state.
UScellular Enhances Missouri Connectivity
With this funding, UScellular has announced plans to construct 11 new cell sites, thereby expanding wireless coverage in the following 19 counties: Adair, Audrain, Clark, Howell, Knox, Laclede, Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Oregon, Ozark, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Texas, and Wright.
UScellular anticipates that the new towers will be constructed and operational by late 2025. The telco said building and maintaining a new cell tower in rural areas can cost twice as much as building one in an urban centre. Thus, programs like this one play a crucial role in enabling wireless carriers to quickly and efficiently connect residents.
UScellular to Decommission CDMA Networks
UScellular will be discontinuing its CDMA network in 2024 and reallocating the network for 4G/LTE services. During the TDS and UScellular's Third Quarter 2023 Earnings Call held on November 3, 2023, the UScellular CEO stated, "Of note regarding our network initiatives, we will be shutting down our CDMA network at the beginning of 2024. Our team has done an excellent job migrating the customer base away from CDMA-dependent devices. Less than 42,000 customers are left and that's down from 386,000 just 18 months ago."
"We believe we're going to continue to see more customers migrate over the next several months. We intend to reform that spectrum to support our LTE network. And we expect to see additional systems operation savings once that CDMA network is fully shut down in 2024," he added.
UScellular utilises the 800 MHz and 1900 MHz spectrum to provide CDMA services. Furthermore, the telecom company reported a quarter-end figure of 106,000 fixed wireless customers, with a 35 percent increase in revenues. UScellular anticipates that by the end of 2024, approximately 50 percent of data traffic will be handled by sites equipped with mid-band spectrum.
UScellular pointed out that the majority of its subscribers currently rely solely on low-band spectrum. With early access to the C-Band spectrum, as reported by TelecomTalk, the telecom company expects continued subscriber growth with the launch of mid-band spectrum, delivering an enhanced experience.