U.S. Cellular is the fifth largest provider of wireless service in the United States. Though this site is primarily devoted to mobile broadband carriers that have national availability, U.S. Cellular’s strategic alliances with other carriers and ongoing technological improvements have earned them a spot in these rankings.
We recommend referring to our Cell Phone Providers Services Review site for information about cellular voice service from U.S. Cellular.
For purposes of this review, the term Laptop Computer refers to a number of portable computer. For details of these devices, check out our reviews of Laptops, Gaming Laptops and Netbooks.
U.S. Cellular offers Mobile Broadband under the name of easyedge. Their primary plan costs $60.00 per month which is right in line with other providers. That allows for 5GB of data usage. Exceed that magic figure, and you’re subjected to the same unconscionable overage fees that most other providers charge. Specifically, $0.49 per MB. In realistic terms, that’s a whopping $501.76 per GB! That’s just about the same fee charged by AT&T, nearly double the charge of Verizon wireless, and almost ten times what Sprint charges.
Wireless modems are available for $119.95 with a 1-year contract or $49.95 with a 2-year contract. They charge a $30.00 activation fee and impose a $150.00 Early Termination Fee.
U.S. Cellular offers data plans for smartphones for $24.95 in addition to the selected voice calling plan.
U.S. Cellular’s data network currently employs CDMA 1XRTT technology which has a theoretical maximum data speed of 144Kbps. Though it is technically a component of 3G (Third Generation) cellular service, it is enough slower than CDMA/EVDO that it is generally regarded as 2.5G. Other U.S. CDMA carriers have adopted the EVDO Rev 0 standards and either already have or are in the process of adopting EVDO Rev A, which is substantially faster still. U.S. Cellular is in the process of upgrade to EVDO Rev 0, with typical download speeds of 400-700Kbps, but until that’s done, the mobile broadband service remains behind the curve in network speed.
U.S. Cellular is not a national carrier but has agreements with other carriers which make its mobile broadband service available in across a large portion of the country. They’re based in Chicago so it’s not surprising that the mid-west has the most extensive data coverage. There are also rather wide areas of availability in northern New England, the central Atlantic states, and the Pacific Northwest.
U.S. Cellular’s web site offers all of the typical support features except live chat which can be the most helpful. By phone their customer support representatives were reasonably well informed and pleasant but regularly did have to put us on hold to research answers.
Until U.S. Cellular completes upgrading its network to EVDO they’re really operating on a very basic level of mobile broadband. Their regional footprint is likely to limit the companies appeal to only a select group of consumers.
This service offers strong customer service.
U.S. Cellular is not a national carrier.
U.S. Cellular is behind the curve of mobile broadband services.