C Spire preps network for September LTE launch

C Spire Wireless is plowing ahead with its planned LTE network launch in September, and is readying its network for the launch. So far, the carrier has confirmed its first LTE device will be the Samsung Galaxy S III.

"We're very pleased with both the download and upload speeds we've achieved in field testing," Eric Hollingsworth, C Spire's vice president of network operations, told the Madison County Journal. "Our field engineers are reporting data speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G on a consistent basis."

According to the newspaper's report, C Spire has installed and tested core network elements, as well as base statement equipment on more than 360 cell sites. The company has also integrated Ethernet backhaul at nearly 70 sites.

C Spire has said it will launch LTE service in 20 markets in Mississippi in September, a significant delay from C Spire's initial goal of rolling out LTE by the end of 2011. C Spire said it will invest $60 million to begin the deployment in Mississippi, which will cover 2,700 square miles and a population of 1.2 million. The carrier has promised a "full suite" of LTE devices when it launches service.

C Spire will announce pricing for the Galaxy S III in late July or early August, and the company has indicated it will also launch "connected devices" for its LTE network, which may include USB modems or tablets.

In April C Spire accused AT&T (NYSE:T), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) of working together to push it and other small regional carriers out of business by manipulating the standards process for creating band classes in the 700 MHz band, according to a CNET report. The three companies have filed motions requesting that C Spire's lawsuit be dismissed.

The report said that C Spire plans to launch LTE services not on its 700 MHz spectrum but on its AWS and PCS spectrum until the issue is resolved. A C Spire spokesman did not immediately have a comment on whether that is still the case. C Spire has also not yet announced its pricing plans for LTE.

For more:
- see this Madison County Journal article

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