Updated July 3
A C Spire spokesman declined to comment on the change in the company’s relationship with Samsung, but he did tell Telecompetitor that one of the first devices the network will support is the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone.
The possibility that all was not well between C Spire and Samsung appeared likely in August of last year, when C Spire – known then as Cellular South — issued an announcement about its LTE deployment status that focused heavily on backhaul network enhancements using equipment from Alcatel-Lucent and which did not mention Samsung. A month later, Cellular South announced its name change to C Spire to tout the company’s new focus on mobile broadband and personalized wireless services.
According to the C Spire website, the company now plans to roll out LTE in 20 Mississippi markets by September. The company said it is investing $60 million for this initial phase.
Band 12 issues
C Spire initially said it would deploy its LTE network in the lower 700 MHz band but it is not clear if the company is using that spectrum for the September network launch.
The company’s lower 700 MHz spectrum is in Band 12 – a different band than the ones in which AT&T and Verizon Wireless won most of their 700 MHz spectrum. The FCC has proposed requiring devices operating in Band 17, where AT&T holds a large amount of spectrum, to interoperate with Band 12. But for now, products designed for the larger carrier networks do not work in Band 12 and some smaller carriers have said they have encountered difficulties in getting handset manufacturers to build devices that will operate in Band 12 at competitive prices because of the lower volumes involved.
The C Spire spokesman told Telecompetitor that the company hopes to have the Samsung device and others for its LTE network.