Redzone Wireless leans on 2.5 GHz spectrum to deploy LTE Advanced network in Maine

The 2.5 GHz band is getting some love in Maine, as a small wireless Internet service provider, Redzone Wireless, plans to use the band to deploy LTE Advanced service across the Pine Tree State.

Redzone had previously announced approval from the FCC to operate using the Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band granted under the company's exclusive lease agreement with the University of Maine system.

According to a report from local TV station WCSH, Redzone plans to launch the service as a fixed home broadband service with a router. For now, the service is available in Portland, Waterville and Great Diamond Island.

Redzone President Jim McKenna said yesterday at a press conference in Portland that by the end of 2015 the company plans to expand network coverage to a total of 15 areas reaching more than 25 percent of Maine's population. The cities of Orono, Bangor and Gardiner are among the additional areas, according to a MaineBiz article. McKenna added that within 24 months, Redzone will cover all of its licensed service area, and provide coverage to more than 90 percent of Maine's residents.

On its website, the company currently offers three plans:

·         For $39 per month, the RedRocket One plan offers 5 Mbps download speeds, 1 Mbps upload speeds and 100 GB of monthly data. Customers' unused monthly data balance carries over to the following month and accumulates, then resets annually on Jan. 1.

·         For $59 per month, the RedRocket Plus plan offers 10 Mbps download speeds, 5 Mbps upload speeds and 250 GB of monthly data. Customers' unused monthly data balance carries over to the following month and accumulates, then resets annually on Jan. 1.

·         For $89 per month, the RedRocket Max plan offers 25 Mbps download speeds, 10 Mbps upload speeds and unlimited data usage.

It's unclear if those plans are part of the company's new LTE service offer. It's also unclear how much the LTE router will cost, though its current plans say there are no equipment fees. A Redzone spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for a comment.

The company's website says, however, that "the new Redzone Wireless network is 100% 4G LTE Advanced architecture. We are the only Fixed Wireless Internet provider to use 4G LTE Advanced in the state of Maine, and we are committed to delivering all of the speed and benefits of LTE Advanced, as they become available, to Maine residents and businesses."

Redzone noted that LTE Advanced incorporates carrier aggregation and advanced MIMO technology "in order to provide speeds in excess of 100 Mbps, and eventually up to 1 Gbps and beyond." It's unclear if Redzone will seek to achieve those speeds.

"We don't anticipate any difficulty in finding customers in Portland who are interested in an Internet-only solution that doesn't involve a landline or cable TV subscription to get it," Michael Forcillo, Redzone's vice president of sales and marketing, told the Portland Press Herald. "We've had an excellent response to our initial pilot and commercial effort. Customer acquisition is not a great worry for us."

RedZone has been working to sell broadband service in Maine since at least 2006. Last month the company announced the closing of a $4 million business loan from Camden National Bank, which came after the Finance Authority of Maine's (FAME) board approved a plan to insure the loan, and which will support the development of Redzone's LTE services. 

Sprint (NYSE: S) has been the key proponent of 2.5 GHZ technology in the U.S., and is seeking to expand its LTE network coverage by partnering with small and rural carriers. One of Sprint's partners is Maine-based Phoenix Wireless.

For more:
- see this Portland Press Herald article
- see this MaineBiz article
- see this WCSH-6 article

Related Articles:
Sprint: 16 of 30 rural LTE roaming partners have now launched LTE service
T-Mobile confirms it has leased spectrum to other carriers to expand LTE network coverage
T-Mobile takes LTE roaming north to Alaska
Sprint adds 15 rural carriers to LTE roaming program
Verizon to give rural LTE partners access to its AWS spectrum, 'XLTE' network
RedZone's broadband plans for Maine