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Spotlight: U.S. Cellular provides public safety solutions that put officers first

U.S. Cellular offers rugged devices plus data and voice prioritization that push your communication to the front of the line

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Company Name: U.S. Cellular
Headquarters: Chicago, IL
Signature Product: Data Priority for First Responders

1. What is your signature product and how does it work?

Data Priority for First Responders. This technology pushes mission-critical data from first responders to the front of the line on a dedicated virtual core, so you can communicate when regular network traffic is heavy and expect consistent quality of service. When necessary, the service will also temporary reallocate or reassign other data so yours can get through. So during a natural disaster, or even during large events like a concert, festival or football game, your communication isn’t delayed or blocked by civilian data traffic. It’s a solution that works where you do, because it’s powered by the reliable U.S. Cellular® network and supported by local Business Solutions Experts.

2. Why do you believe your products are essential to your vertical (Police, Fire, EMS, Corrections, Government) community?

It comes down to safety. When officers are on duty, in order to stay safe, you need to maintain a high level of situational awareness at all times. Our technology provides easy ways to heighten that situational awareness, by providing a network that can keep you connected where your responses take you, and solutions that put information at your fingertips in a variety of critical situations.

As described above, data priority can keep you connected despite heavy network traffic. Mobile office solutions turn a police car into a rolling hub of connectivity for devices and officers in and immediately around the vehicle. There’s also voice priority, unlimited data plans, Push-to-Talk services and rugged equipment. All of these solutions provide absolutely critical connectivity in the places, conditions and ways that you need it most, so that your situational awareness is at it’s highest at all times.

3. What do your customers like best about you and your products?

  • The coverage they get across their entire jurisdictions

We understand that not all of your responses occur on main roads, or in the center of town. U.S. Cellular has always treated coverage in rural and remote areas as equally important as coverage in cities and suburbs, so officers can stay connected in the areas they’re called to respond in.

  • The local support we provide before, during and after implementation of our solutions

When one of our law enforcement customers has a question, requires technical support or has wireless hardware needs, they call a local rep that knows them, knows their history and understands their department. They have a contact that they develop a rapport with. It’s a very different experience than walking into a retail location staffed with junior level employees or contacting a call center where you have to start from scratch every time to explain who you are.

  • The flexibility and ease of use of our products

Because we understand that the size and staffing of departments can vary widely —from three part-time LEOs to 300+ full-time officers and everything in between — we offer a wide variety of technology to fit different needs. Our Business Solutions Experts will help you choose the right solutions and customize them to your department. They’ll also be available throughout the implementation process to answer questions and assist as needed.

4. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder/local government community?

As a company, we’ve always worked to build connections within the communities where we live and work. It’s baked into who we are. First responders are on that same mission, so we have a special affinity for this group as a whole. As a result, we develop a bond with our law enforcement customers — and their communities. That bond, and all that comes out of it, is the most rewarding part. It’s because of that bond that our employees are invested in volunteering to help in any way they can, including boots on the ground. During one tornado outbreak in Iowa, U.S. Cellular crews logged 100 hours passing out water, phone chargers and helping to maintain connectivity so that first responders could do their jobs. It’s something our employees didn’t think twice about doing. And we were proud to be able to offer help, even in these small ways.

5. What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?

For law enforcement, the next big thing on the horizon is U.S. Cellular 5G. The incredible speeds, nearly imperceptible lag time and increased capacity for Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity will bring enormous benefits for police officers as 5G becomes more prevalent. For example, video surveillance capabilities will be improved by 5G’s uninterrupted service, and video downloads will be much faster. Sensors will also become more useful because of 5G speed — enabling faster and more accessible information about motion, sound and environmental conditions that you couldn’t see before. Wearable sensors could keep officers safer by monitoring their condition and location. While the increased speed of data transfer will put critical data into the right hands faster, end-to-end encryption and tighter authentication procedures will also help keep it out of the wrong hands.

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