Cellular South, a small regional carrier in the southeastern U.S., and Samsung Telecommunications America plan to build an LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network that will go live in the fourth quarter of next year.
Samsung, which is the world's second-largest maker of mobile handsets, will also supply Cellular South with two LTE smartphones and other devices, the companies announced Wednesday. Samsung Telecommunications America is a U.S.-based subsidiary of Samsung Electronics of South Korea.
LTE will be the next-generation mobile data platform for most carriers around the world. In the U.S., Verizon Wireless plans to launch LTE in 38 cities by the end of this year, but another smaller carrier, MetroPCS, has already introduced it in a handful of markets. AT&T plans to roll out the technology next year.
The privately held Cellular South, based in Ridgeland, Mississippi, operates in parts of that state and in parts of Alabama, Florida and Tennessee. Its current network uses 3G EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) technology. But Cellular South has been an innovative service provider before, trialing the WirelessWallet mobile payment system with USA Technologies in 2007.
The LTE network will operate on frequencies in the 700MHz band that Cellular South acquired in the 2008 U.S. auction of former broadcast TV spectrum. Cellular South's service will include VoLTE (voice over LTE), the companies said in a press release. Following the launch late next year, the LTE infrastructure will be expanded further across Cellular South's 700MHz coverage area in 2012.
The two companies said they will work on integrating rich multimedia services across smartphones, laptops and netbooks as well as TVs, of which Samsung is also a major manufacturer.