Mobile network operator UScellular and wireless WAN networking equipment Cradlepoint announced a new partnership Wednesday that promises to deliver “enterprise-grade” 5G business internet services to UScellular’s enterprise customers. The companies plan to offer UScellular customers pre-certified wireless routers and wideband adapters, to help connect office branch locations, for mobile use and for IoT, they said in a statement.
UScellular sees the new offering as important for businesses looking for maximum flexibility, both for themselves and their employees. The new Wireless WAN (WWAN) solutions provide protection for businesses against possible wireline disruptions, said UScellular, and provides more freedom for businesses to connect and manage “virtually anything that can connect to a gateway.” Mini Portable Wifi Router
Based in Chicago, UScellular boasts 5 million subscribers and coverage in 23 states, and claims to be the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the US. The company’s business internet service starts at $50 per month, offering businesses a free 5G router and no annual service contract.
Jonathan Fischer, VP of North America carrier development at Cradlepoint, said the new offering will help businesses in rural and urban communities serviced by UScellular to take advantage of 5G.
“With Cradlepoint enterprise-grade Wireless WAN solutions, UScellular business customers can stay more connected, with more control and more security, and in more places than ever before,” he added.
Cradlepoint recently announced SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking) optimized for 5G, ready for network slicing, even. The company’s NetCloud Exchange (NCX) sports traffic optimization over dual cellular and hybrid WAN connections, Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA) security support, and simplified management capabilities with built-in traffic orchestration.
Cradlepoint, acquired in 2020 by Ericsson for $1.1 billion, sees 5G as a driver of the accelerated adoption of WWAN services across different industries. And UScellular is far from the only telco that uses Cradlepoint’s services to help bridge the gap between their networks and the enterprise edge. In fact, Verizon and Cradlepoint acknowledged a milestone this past January: More than 1 million Cradlepoint routers have been deployed at Verizon’s network edge, the companies said.
“Over the past couple of years, we are seeing our enterprise customers incorporate wireless into their solutions at a pace that they hadn’t been doing prior,” Jennifer Artley, SVP of strategic initiatives at Verizon Business, told RCR Wireless News. “Even [the] largest enterprises and the public sector [want] fixed wireless access solutions at the edge. Getting to a million is pretty significant for both parties.”
In May, UScellular announced that it had selected Ericsson and Nokia to help it with 5G network infrastructure as the company builds out mid-band spectrum in its markets. UScellular and Ericsson inked a deal which includes the deployment of the telco’s C-band and 3.45 GHz spectrum, which paves the way for the provision of enhanced Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). UScellular will also deploy Nokia’s massive MIMO radios, macro remote radio heads, and next-generation AirScale baseband equipment in the C-Band and 3.45 GHz mid-band spectrum. The telco plans to have mid-band spectrum deployed for customer use by the end of 2023.
UScellular has also collaborated with Qualcomm and Inseego to deploy 5G mmWave service in parts of 10 U.S. cities. The carrier says that its Home Internet+ solution delivers speeds of up to 300 Mbps, which represents an increase of 10-15 times compared to its 4G LTE home internet offering. The new internet offering from UScellular is delivered by the Inseego Wavemaker FW2010 outdoor 5G customer premise equipment (CPE). The Inseego equipment sports Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF system, the companies said in a statement.
Peter is a Technology Editor for RCR Wireless News whose coverage areas include hyperscalers, telco cloud, edge computing, and data centers. Before joining RCR, Peter was a freelance writer with a background in tech journalism. He worked as a senior editor for Macworld magazine, editor at iMore.com and has contributed to many other tech publications. He and his family live in Massachusetts.