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U.S. Cellular 5G Slower than Promised

Did your phone provider lie about 5G speeds and access? You may be able to claim compensation, and our team can help you.

Did you upgrade to U.S. Cellular 5G, but it’s slower than promised? Here’s what you can do.

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US Cellular is the fourth biggest mobile network provider behind T-Mobile. They carry and operate their own national network with specialization specifically on areas in the Northwest and Midwest United States where other carriers might be lacking. They represent approximately 10% of the 4G coverage across the United States and even less if you look at 5G coverage. While the company doesn’t cover much of the United States, those areas they do cover can get reliable for G. But what about 5G?

What is 5G?

5G is the 5th generation of mobile wireless service, allegedly much faster than anything prior, with almost no lag time and the ability to handle futuristic demands like streaming ultra-high-definition videos, using virtual reality games, robotic surgery demands, even computerized cars.

But for now how does it work out for customers who just want faster cell service?

When did U.S. Cellular start offering 5G?

In July 2020, U.S. cellular announced that 5G would be offered in Chicago and Iowa, and slowly other Midwestern states thereafter.

What are their prices for 5G?

In terms of prices, you can access prepaid plans that have 8 GB of full speed data for $40 per month, no-contract data plans, unlimited data plans, and unlimited data plans that come with deals.

What did U.S. Cellular say 5G should provide?

The company said it would be significantly better than anything you would get with 4G, much faster, no lag time, and of course better overall connectivity.

In a press release, Michael S. Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer of U.S. Cellular said “We will continue to enhance our 5G network to provide the best network experience to our customers.” 

What deals did U.S. Cellular offer for new 5G service and devices?

U.S. Cellular has deals for trading in your phone and bringing your own smartphone both of which can get you discounts. The most popular deal for upgrading to a 5G phone is to bring your own 5G phone and when you activate a new plan you can get $150 back and up to $500 off your bill if you trade in your phone for a new Samsung Galaxy or iPhone.

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How does this company rank in terms of 5G promises?


This company provides unlimited plans for 5G which are not actually limited. 

  • If you have the unlimited data prepaid plan for $55 per month, the company will throttle you back to 2G once you reach a cap of 15 GB.  
  • If you pick the everyday plan with unlimited data and no contract, once you reach 25 gigabytes they will slow down the speed on each of your cell phones.

Upgrades and Deals

Those who made the switch to upgraded phones for 5G compatibility through this company have not always been impressed. One customer review explained, “Purchased a Samsung S20 ultra phone. This phone is garbage. Save your money! You are taking a chance that you will get a working phone with no issues. Then you will have the challenge of working with customer service who will only refer you to Samsung. What a waste of time!!! I now have a very expensive paperweight and hours wasted on the phone trying to get things resolved. US Cellular made a profit on this sale, yet they are not willing to help. Well lesson learned. I will be changing providers as soon as contract is up. Please check all reviews before buying this phone, it might save you time and money!!!!” 

Sound familiar?

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The Better Business Bureau has a one star out of five star rating for this company and many of the customers have filed complaints about deals and promotions not being honored, and not being honored correctly, and customer service issues when it comes to 5G upgrades.

One customer noted:

I upgraded my phone last week and I bought the phone outright. When I got home I saw online that if I had done an installment plan I could’ve gotten $400 off the phone but I was never told this when I bought the phone. So I called US Cellular and they told me to bring the phone in and they would return it and ring it up under the installment plan. I brought the phone into the store this past Friday and I was told that I couldn’t return the phone because I had already recently returned a phone (I bought the iPhone mini and didn’t like it so I swapped for the Samsung S21) and I was only allowed one swap out (something I was never told and I had talked to multiple people online and in-store about the return policy. There is also nothing on the online return policy regarding a one-time swap out). So they told me that I could not return the phone at all – to get the $400 off or even for a full refund – and the best they could do was a $10 monthly credit for 12 months. I then reached out to US Cellular via Facebook and they said all they can do is a $20 credit for 12 months. I am now out $200 for US Cellular’s multiple mistakes and misinformation even after talking to multiple people all at different times. I also was initially charged $35 for a restocking fee on my original return of the iPhone which I was never told about despite inquiring twice online via chat about their return policy – thankfully the agent at the store was nice enough to credit me back that money since I was never informed. I understand stores have policies, but they need to FULLY inform consumers of all the details regarding their policies beforehand so the consumer can make an informed decision – especially when I inquired multiple times about their return policy. We’ve been a US cellular customer for a while, and haven’t really had any complaints until now, but unfortunately this was a pretty big misstep on their part and I’m the one losing out for their mistake”


If you look at the US cellular coverage map you can see that 3G and 4G networks are primarily what the company offers.

Map of US Cellular data coverage

5G coverage it’s very difficult to find through this organization but exists in areas like Iowa and Wisconsin or other pockets of coverage across the Midwest. This means most consumers will be hard-pressed to get 5G service where they live.

One customer noted, “My data speeds have been all over the place, intermittently varying from 0.22 to 6.5 MPS since November. Currently open repair ticket, no one calls me back, data speed is still unreliable and I’m still paying a lot of money for frequently unusable service with no customer support at all.”

What you can do if your 5G is slower than promised

If your 5G is slower than promised, it’s possible that you could get compensation from your phone company. Let our expert team help you submit a claim and win. Tell us what happened below.

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