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U.S. Cellular introduces 3G mobile broadband service

Local U.S. Cellular customers who access the internet via their cell phones have likely noticed a change for the better in terms of how long it takes to have full access to information.

The company has announced its entire network in Washington state and northern Oregon will have full 3G coverage by the end of this coming summer. But for Sunnyside users, the network is already in place.

"It enables (Evolution-Data Optimized) capable cell phones and air cards to work up to 10 times faster than before and that's all at no additional cost," said Erryn Anderson, Area Sales Manager. Evolution-Data Optimized cell phones are also known as smartphones.

An air card, she explained, is an item that connects to a computer via a USB cord and allows internet access no matter where a client may be, as long as it's within range of a U.S. Cellular tower.

Along with increased speed, customers now also have access to new data content and applications, like mobile e-mail, an advanced mobile web browser, 3D games and MobiTV with channels that include ABC news, ESPN and TLC.

Anderson said browsing the web on a smartphone is now very similar to doing so on a computer, with added capability to send and receive large email attachments. For computer savvy individuals who understand the lingo, this means downloads with previous average speeds of 768Kbps take less time and picture and video messages are delivered more quickly. Uploads have an average speed of 200 Kbps. "The difference is like going from dial-up to DSL on your desktop," Anderson said.

Anderson said efforts have been underway to enhance U.S. Cellular services for a few years now, and Washington and northeastern Oregon's 3G network implementation is the fourth phase of the process.

"Washington has been on the map and now it's our turn," she said.

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