U.S. Cellular is a regional cellular telephone provider based in the United States. The company was created in 1983 as a subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. Since April 2000, John E. Rooney has been the company’s President and CEO.
As of October 2005, U.S. Cellular was the sixth-largest mobile phone company in the United States. Despite this position, the company is in fact a relatively mid-sized provider, offering regional coverage in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and parts of the East and New England. Moreover, although headquartered in Chicago, U.S. Cellular did not offer service in Chicagoland until it acquired territories from PrimeCo Communications between 2002 and 2003, after the formation of Verizon Wireless.
Originally, U.S. Cellular used TDMA cell phones in most markets, but the company has completed shifting over to 1xRTT CDMA technology. There are some analog/TDMA cell sites still operating in many areas, for legacy customers as well as roaming purposes. However, U.S. Cellular no longer activates TDMA or Analog handsets.
U.S. Cellular’s Unlimited Call-Me promotion allows users to receive calls without charge while in their local calling areas. The company’s phones also offer picture messaging and “EasyEdge” data services as well as “SpeedTalk” walkie talkie service, which launched in July of 2005.
The company touts its service as having one of the highest customer retention rates among its competitors, as reported by some market research firms. It is currently expanding to more major markets: recently, St. Louis was added to its coverage area, and a massive ad blitz (all featuring company spokesperson Joan Cusack) covered buses, TV ad breaks and billboards.