Legal Policies

U.S. Cellular's Mobile Broadband Open Internet Practices

Effective November 21, 2011 

United States Cellular Corporation ("U.S. Cellular) supports our country's national broadband goals by helping to preserve the Internet as an open platform for innovation, investment, job creation, economic growth, competition and free expression. In doing so, we comply with the Federal Communications Commission's ("FCC") Open Internet Broadband Industry Rules as they pertain to U.S. Cellular as a Mobile Broadband provider. The purpose of this disclosure is to provide transparency into U.S. Cellular's network management practices, performance characteristics and terms and conditions of our Mobile Broadband services so that end users who subscribe to our Mobile Broadband services so that end users can make informed choices about Mobile Broadband services and providers; and so that content, application, service and device providers have the information needed to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings.

What is Mobile Broadband service?

Mobile Broadband service ("Mobile Broadband") refers to any of our data services that you may use with a Smartphone, aircard modem, tablet or other wireless device that are appropriately configured to work on our network for connection to the Internet. It provides the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all Internet endpoints, including any capabilities that are incidental to and enable the operation of the service.

 

What are U.S. Cellular's Mobile Broadband network management practices?

U.S. Cellular employs reasonable network management practices that are appropriate and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management purpose. Legitimate network management purposes typically include reasonable practices to provide security, confidentiality, and integrity of network services; reasonable measures to address traffic that is harmful to the network and providing services or capabilities consistent with an end user's choices regarding services offered.

U.S. Cellular only optimizes HTTP traffic. HTTP traffic consists of both Internet browsing and watching video. Both optimization methodologies are described below:

Video Optimization
Two types of optimization techniques are utilized by U.S. Cellular for video, Lossless Video Optimization and Lossy Video Optimization:
      • Lossless Video Optimization
        Lossless Video Optimization reduces the amount of video traffic without changing the quality of the content–using the Just-in-Time technique. Such technique manages the download of video over the network to match the rate at which it is being watched by the subscriber. This improves capacity utilization and performance by minimizing wasted traffic caused by video downloads to a buffer, which are terminated before viewing completion.

      • Lossy Video Optimization
        Lossy Video Optimization removes inefficiencies in the encoding of video and optimizes the video to better suit the network and the device. It uses the following techniques:

      Quality-Aware Transcoding to deliver video in the most efficient codec without degrading quality. This reduces the video traffic load on the network.

      Dynamic Bandwidth Shaping to match the video bit rate to the amount of bandwidth available in the network. This minimizes video stalling and improves the user experience.

      Video Caching to reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed in the packet core and the Internet backhaul. This improves the user experience by moving content closer to the subscriber.

Web Optimization
Web Optimization includes a vast array of techniques to streamline web page downloads and reduce the amount of data transmitted in the process. If the object is present in the cache, it is served from there. If not, the object is fetched from the content server to be optimized. The optimization process goes through four different optimization stages:

Object Optimizations: Web pages consist of many objects (markup, images, scripts, video, etc.). Each supported object is individually optimized using a number of different techniques as applicable. For example, nonessential content (such as comments and white space) is removed, images may be compressed to reduce their size, text and other objects are compressed using Gzip, and so on.

Page Optimizations: The various objects are combined to make a web page. Many optimizations are performed during the combining process. Several objects are prefetched even before the browser requests them to speed up the download. The objects are also grouped together and sent in one package to reduce the back-and-forth traffic and time involved in downloading one object at a time. Further, the downloading of the objects that make up a page is scheduled so that the page starts rendering as soon as possible.

Protocol Optimizations: Once the page has been packaged, other optimizations are performed in its download to the device. For example, many objects may be downloaded simultaneously using pipelining. Sophisticated connection management techniques are used to control the number of connections used during the download to minimize connection overload while also decreasing page download time. Objects are downloaded in an optimal order for greater efficiency.

Transport Optimizations: Further optimizations are performed in the transport layer itself. A type of Transmission Control Protocol better suited for wireless networks is used. Multiple responses may be combined into one packet to reduce the packet overhead. All these optimizations combine together to download a page that consumes far fewer network resources and loads significantly faster.

Retail customers may only activate CDMA devices that are GPS capable on our network. These devices must have been acquired directly from U.S. Cellular or one of its agents.

Our resellers are required to have the devices that they provide to their customers approved by us before activating the device on our network. Resellers must send us their industry certification documentation as a requirement of the approval process.

Third party applications where U.S. Cellular has a direct relationship with the application developer are selected based on a business case that includes consideration for customer needs and user experience. U.S. Cellular specific applications are tested by us for user experience and device compatibility. Applications designed for easyedgeSM Wireless Data (powered by BREW) are also certified by National Software Testing Laboratories, a Qualcomm® third party. Applications designed for Windows® Mobile are also certified by Microsoft®.

There are other mechanisms for third party applications that are not selected by U.S. Cellular to be distributed on devices that have Android, Windows® Mobile, or BlackBerry® operating systems. These applications are certified through the following parties:

Android – certified by Google Inc.
Windows® Mobile – certified by Microsoft®
BlackBerry® – certified by Research in Motion Corporation (RIM®)

We will promptly inform device and application providers of any decisions to deny access to our network or of a failure to approve their particular devices or applications.

 

What are some of the performance characteristics of U.S. Cellular's Mobile Broadband services?

U.S. Cellular's 4G and 3G devices include Smartphones, basic phones, wireless modems and tablets. These devices can be used for sending high resolution photographs; personal videos; browsing the web; accessing e-mail; downloading applications; and accessing mobile TV, music and radio applications.

U.S. Cellular mobile broadband 3G users can expect typical data speeds of 600 Kbps – 1.2 Mbps for downloads and 400-600 Kbps for uploads. 3G users can experience peak speeds of up to 3.1 Mbps for downloads and 1.8 Mbps for uploads. 4G LTE users can expect typical data speeds of 3 – 6 Mbps for downloads and 1 – 3 Mbps for uploads. 4G LTE users can experience peak speeds of 31 Mbps for downloads and 11 Mbps for uploads. Actual speeds may vary due to area, coverage and compression. Customers can expect improved performance and lower latency for many applications running over our 4G LTE network compared to our 3G network, and likewise with 3G network performance compared to our 1X network.

 

What are the current terms and conditions that pertain to U.S. Cellular's Mobile Broadband services?

Smartphone, Tablet and Wireless Modem Data Plans may be used for: a) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, e-mail and individual software applications), b) e-mail access and c) Internet browsing. Plans cannot be used for any other purpose including, but not limited to: a) continuous file transfers, b) telemetry applications, c) automatic data feeds, d) Web camera posts or broadcasts, e) automated functions, f) machine-to-machine applications or peer-to-peer file sharing, g) redirecting television signals for viewing on personal computers, or (h) as a substitute for private lines, frame relay or other dedicated connections. U.S. Cellular reserves the right to limit throughput and to suspend/terminate service, without notice, if using the plan in a prohibited manner or if usage adversely impacts or potentially impacts our network or service levels. No more than 200 MB of your data usage in any month may be used in U.S. Cellular's non-licensed markets High Speed, Nationwide Network coverage not available on certain devices or in certain areas.

Data Charges: All easyedgeSM sales are final. "Application charges" include the non-recurring and/or monthly subscription fees incurred when you purchase data applications from us or third parties for which we bill. "Data network usage charges" are the charges for transferring data (i.e., downloading applications, accessing the Internet, etc.) rendered in units of kilobytes or megabytes. Each partial kilobyte of data transferred will be rounded up and billed as a full kilobyte. You will be billed data network usage charges even if you do not purchase anything during the data session (application, ringtone, game, etc.) For example, browsing the web or download shop, sampling ringtones or previewing a free trial of a game constitutes data network usage for which you will be billed according to your applicable data plan.

Billing Errors and Disputes: You may seek a credit or refund for errors in billing for up to 180 days (or as otherwise provided by CA law for CA customers) after issuance to you of the bill on which the error is contained by contacting U.S. Cellular as provided on your bill. You will have waived your right to dispute the bill and to bring, or participate in, any legal action raising such dispute if you fail to dispute the charge on your bill within 180 days (or as otherwise provided by CA law for CA customers) after the issuance of the bill. We may also back bill you for any error that results in an underbilling to you within 180 days of the issuance of the bill that should have reflected the underbilled charge.

Arbitration: Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this agreement shall be resolved by binding arbitration at the request of either party pursuant to the wireless industry arbitration rules as modified by this agreement and as administered by the American Arbitration Association ("AAA"). We shall be fully responsible for filing, administration and arbitrator fees and we will advance, or reimburse you for, any reasonable filing, administration and arbitrator fees for any arbitration initiated in accordance with this paragraph. We will reimburse you for your reasonable attorneys' fees and costs if the arbitrator awards you an amount equal to or greater than the amount you have demanded in such arbitration. The American Arbitration Association shall administer the arbitration and judgment on the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction. Both parties acknowledge that this agreement is a transaction involving interstate commerce, and is therefore governed by the federal arbitration act. By agreeing to arbitration, both parties are waiving their right to litigate in court including any right to a jury trial. Unless you and we otherwise mutually agree, all hearings under such arbitration shall take place in the county of your billing address. At your option, you may bring an action against us in small claims court, notwithstanding this agreement. The parties agree that all claims, whether in arbitration or in small claims court, shall be treated individually and there shall be no consolidation of claims, class actions, representative actions or private attorney general actions. U.S. Cellular expressly rejects and does not consent to any consolidation of claims or class action in the arbitration. This arbitration agreement survives the termination of this service agreement. For additional information on commencing arbitration and how the arbitration process works, you may call the American Arbitration Association at 800-778-7879 or visit their website at www.adr.org.

easyedgeSM Wireless Data (powered by BREW) End User License Agreement
By installing or using this BREW application ("Application") you are agreeing to be bound by all of the terms set forth below. If you do not agree to the terms of this agreement, do not install or use the application:

    • Limited License
      The developer of the Application ("Developer") hereby grants to you a non-exclusive limited license to install the object code version of the Application on one wireless communication device and to use the Application on such device. All rights not expressly granted are reserved by the Developer. The term Application includes any software that is provided to you at the same time the Application is provided to you, or that is used in connection with the Application.

    • Restrictions
      You agree not to reproduce, modify or distribute the Application or other software included in your wireless device ("Other Software"). Subject to applicable law, you agree not to decompile or reverse engineer the Application or the Other Software. You agree not to (i) remove any copyright or other proprietary notice from the Application or the Other Software, or (ii) sublicense or transfer the Application or the Other Software to a third party.

    • Ownership
      You agree that the Developer and its licensors retain all right, title and interest in and to the Application and all copies of the Application, including all copyrights therein. You agree to erase an Application from your wireless device upon receipt of notice.

    • Termination
      This Agreement shall terminate immediately, without notice, if you fail to comply with any material term of this Agreement. Upon termination you agree to immediately erase the Application from your wireless device.

    • Disclaimer of Warranty
      The Application is licensed to you "as is." Developer and its licensors disclaim any and all warranties regarding the Application, whether express or implied, including without limitation, the implied warranties of non-infringement of third party rights, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose. Develop does not warrant that the operation of the Application will be uninterrupted or error free. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusion may not apply or may be limited.

    • Limitation of Liability
      To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall the Developer or its licensors be liable for any consequential, special, incidental or indirect damages of any kind arising out of the use of the Application (including but not limited to lost data or lost profits), even if the Developer has been advised of the possibility of such damages. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event will the Developer's liability for any claim, whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or any other theory of liability, exceed the fee paid by you. Some jurisdictions do not allow the limitation or exclusion of liability for incidental or consequential damages so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply or may be limited.

    • Export
      The Application is subject to the export control laws and regulations of the United States and other jurisdictions. You agree to comply with all such laws and regulations.

    • Government
      If you are or are acting on behalf of an agency or instrumentality of the United States Government, the Application is "commercial computer software" developed exclusively at private expense. Pursuant to FAR 12.212 or DFARS 227 7202 and their successors, as applicable, use, reproduction and disclosure of the Application is governed by the terms of this Agreement.

    • Miscellaneous
      This Agreement is governed by the laws of the State of California, USA, without regard to California's conflict of law principles. The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the Sale of International Goods does not apply to this Agreement. If any provision hereof is held illegal, invalid or unenforceable, in whole or in part, such provision shall be modified to the minimum extent necessary to make it legal, valid and enforceable, and the legality, validity and enforceability of all other provisions of this Agreement shall not be affected thereby. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between you and the Developer regarding its subject matter and supersedes any prior agreement, whether written or oral, relating to the subject matter of this Agreement. No modification or alteration of this Agreement will be valid except in writing signed by you and the Developer.


Terms & Conditions for BlackBerry® Service
If you purchase "BlackBerry" data services provided by Research in Motion Corporation (RIM®) through us ("BlackBerry Service"), the BlackBerry Service shall be deemed to be part of the Service and, in addition to (and not in lieu of) the above Terms and Conditions of Agreement, the following Terms and Conditions for BlackBerry Service shall apply: For purposes of this "Agreement", "RIM License(s)" means the then current standard software license(s), in whatever form or medium provided by Research In Motion Corporation, a Delaware corporation and/or Research In Motion Limited, an Ontario corporation (individually and collectively, "RIM"), in conjunction with the "BlackBerry" wireless handset device and related services, including but not limited to the BlackBerry End User/Software License Agreement provided with the BlackBerry wireless handset device. A current set of versions of RIM Licenses can be found at http://www.rim.com/legal/index.shtml.

Requirements for BlackBerry Service
As a condition to receiving the BlackBerry Service, you must come to, and at all times during the term specified in the applicable service agreement and comply with the terms of the RIM Licenses. You acknowledge that your use of the BlackBerry Service requires that you, among other things, purchase a BlackBerry wireless handset device from us. You further acknowledge and agree that you shall be solely responsible for the selection, implementation, and performance of any third party equipment, software and telecommunication equipment and services (including without limitation, Internet e-mail connectivity used in connection with the BlackBerry Service. You shall be responsible for insuring that the computer equipment and e-mail system you use in connection with the BlackBerry Service meets our and RIM's minimum standards for interoperability including, without limitation, those with respect to memory requirements, processing speed, the choice of e-mail provider and client software and the use of Internet access for accessing Internet e-mail.

Rates and Charges
You shall pay for the BlackBerry Service at the rates set forth in your Service Agreement. We reserve the right to pass through to you with prior written notice any increased cost or applicable portion of such cost imposed on us by RIM with respect to your or our customers' average usage of the BlackBerry Service. You agree to pay any such cost passed through by us.

Termination by Us
We may terminate or suspend the BlackBerry Service (1) if we are prevented from providing the BlackBerry Service by any law, regulation, requirement or ruling issued in any form whatsoever by judicial or other government authority, (2) upon termination of any third party relationship including, without limitation, termination of our relationship with RIM, or (3) if you fail to comply with any term of your Agreement with us or any applicable RIM License. You will not be assessed an early termination fee if we terminate the BlackBerry Service for any reason set forth in the foregoing sub-sections (1) or (2).

Coverage
You acknowledge that the BlackBerry Service may be interrupted or unavailable due to the failure of third party suppliers or the termination of one of more third party supplier relationships with us including, without limitation, our relationship with RIM.

Disclaimer of Warranties
We shall have no liability to you or any end user for any portion of the BlackBerry service provided by RIM, itself or through or in conjunction with us, or for the accuracy, timeliness or continued availability of the BlackBerry service. We shall have no liability to you for any intellectual property infringement or misappropriation with respect to any element of the BlackBerry service provided by any third party including, without limitation, RIM, through or in conjunction with us. In addition, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, we specifically disclaim the suitability of the BlackBerry service for use in mission critical applications or in hazardous environments requiring fail safe controls, including without limitation, operation of nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation or communication systems, air traffic control and life support or weapons systems.

 

Does U.S. Cellular block access to websites or applications?

U.S. Cellular does not block end users from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management, nor do we block applications that compete with our voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network management.

 

How do I contact you if I have questions about U.S. Cellular's Mobile Broadband Open Internet Practices?

U.S. Cellular welcomes your comments regarding our mobile broadband open internet practices. If you have questions or comments, please contact us via email or write to us at the following address:

U.S. Cellular
Attn: Customer Resolutions Support
P.O. Box 1489
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
.

 

Does U.S. Cellular® provides usage notifications?

Yes, Overage Protection is a service that provides U.S. Cellular® customers with a Text Message alert prior to the close of their billing cycle. Alerts for Voice, Messaging and Data are sent notifying customers that they have reached 75% and/or 100% of their respective plan allotments. These alerts are intended to help customers monitor their usage and avoid unexpected overages.

 

Does U.S. Cellular® reduce data speeds (throttle) its customers?

Yes, if a customer is on a non-tiered data plan and exceed their data limit, data access will be slowed down for the remainder of their bill cycle. The customer's usual network speeds will be restored on day 1 of the next billing cycle. All U.S. Cellular® customers will experience a reduction in speed when roaming usage exceeds 200MB. Customers will not be notified about speed reduction. However, they will receive text message alerts notifying them of their data usage. See Data Overage Protection for more details. In addition, in places and times of network congestion, we may manage data connection speeds for a small subset of customers for short durations of time, in order to preserve the overall experience for the majority of customers.