C Spire boosts EV-DO network coverage by 1.3M POPs

C Spire Wireless said it increased its EV-DO data coverage by about 38 percent, or 1.3 million POPs, giving it a total coverage footprint of 4.7 million POPs.

The privately held regional wireless carrier, formerly known as Cellular South, also said its plans to expand mobile broadband coverage to 238 cell sites in portions of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee by year-end as part of its continuing network expansion ahead of its LTE launch.

The news comes days after C Spire shook up the industry with the announcement that it will offer Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4S, becoming the fourth U.S. carrier to do so.

Over the course of the past several months C Spire has been making several upgrades to its network, including a $90 million network expansion program announced last month to increase capacity, add new cell sites and install fiber backhaul. The company has been upgrading cell sites and adding backhaul in advance of its LTE deployment, which the company had previously said would come by year-end. In a recent interview, C Spire CEO Hu Meena would not commit to an exact launch timetable for LTE.

"What I can say is that we absolutely know that getting LTE into the market as soon as possible, and in as robust a fashion as possible, is absolutely critical to not only C Spire Wireless but to any carrier," Meena told FierceWireless. "And we're working diligently toward that, but I'm not able to talk about any dates."

C Spire counts roughly 875,000 wireless subscribers and operates a network across Mississippi and parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. The carrier offers nationwide service through roaming, but doesn't disclose its roaming partners.

For more:
- see this release
- see this C Spire site

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