SPRINT’S RURAL ROAMING PREFERRED PROVIDER PROGRAM NOW INCLUDES 27 CARRIERS; EXTENDS 4G LTE COVERAGE IN 27 STATES, 565,000 SQUARE MILES AND A POPULATION OF MORE THAN 38 MILLION PEOPLE.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 05, 2014 – Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced that it has reached 4G LTE agreements with 15 additional rural and regional network carriers as part of the Rural Roaming Preferred Provider program it announced with Competitive Carriers Association earlier this year. The program gives smaller carriers a clear path forward to high speed mobile broadband solutions by providing the carriers low-cost access to Sprint’s nationwide 4G LTE network and an opportunity to access an expanded range of mobile devices.
Including the new agreements, the program now includes 27 carriers, extending coverage in 27 states, over 565,000 square miles and a population of more than 38 million people. The 15 carriers joining the program are:
- Bluegrass Cellular, serving Kentucky
- Blue Wireless, serving New York and Pennsylvania
- Pine Belt Wireless, serving Alabama
- Pioneer Cellular, serving Oklahoma and Kansas
- Public Service Wireless, serving Alabama and Georgia
- Syringa Wireless, serving Idaho
- Rural Independent Network Alliance (RINA) members and their partners:
- STRATA Networks, serving Utah, Wyoming and Colorado
- Silver Star Wireless, serving Wyoming and Idaho
- All West Wireless Inc., serving Wyoming and Utah
- NNTC, serving Colorado
- Snake River Personal Communications Service, serving Oregon
- CTC Telecom Inc., serving Idaho
- South Central Communications Inc., serving Utah
- Custer Telephone Wireless, serving Idaho
- Breakaway Wireless, serving Utah
These agreements increase wireless competition by accelerating the deployment and utilization of 4G LTE across the U.S. where the cost of building such networks and the roaming costs are often prohibitively expensive. In addition to reducing roaming costs for carriers and improving competition, the Rural Roaming Preferred Provider program broadens Sprint’s coverage footprint by giving its customers the ability to roam on participating carriers’ networks.
“In just a few short months, Sprint has made significant progress by signing agreements covering 27 regional carriers that serve millions of people across the country,” said Michael C. Schwartz, Sprint senior vice president of Corporate and Business Development. “By working together, we will bring mobile broadband and better wireless devices to underserved communities while expanding 4G LTE coverage for Sprint customers.”
CCA DEVICE HUB
As part of the program, Sprint is working with CCA, Brightstar Corp. and carriers to support a device ecosystem in which carriers may pursue access to a broad portfolio of 4G LTE devices. Leveraging Sprint’s scale can lower costs, improve time to market and expand the portfolio of devices available to regional carriers. Beginning in 2015, Sprint will make devices more compatible with regional carriers’ networks by adding support for additional spectrum bands including the AWS and lower 700MHz spectrum that are used by CCA member carriers. Sprint will also support device changes that allow regional carriers to provision, manage and brand devices independently through CCA’s Device Hub. Participating carriers will be able to work directly with Brightstar, which will be the exclusive distributor for device access and distribution.
CCA ROAMING HUB
In addition, Sprint is collaborating with CCA on the Data Access Hub that serves as a clearinghouse for participating members to complete simple, commercially-sustainable and individually-negotiated reciprocal roaming agreements with CCA member operators. The CCA Data Access Hub expands collaboration opportunities among carriers, eases roaming implementation across carriers and makes it easier and less costly to expand 4G LTE coverage.
CCA’s President and CEO Steven K. Berry said, “I am very pleased Sprint has signed agreements with 15 additional carriers and is committed to working with smaller rural and regional carriers. Competitive carriers must have a pathway to 4G LTE technologies, and Sprint’s solution will help them achieve this critical goal. I encourage every CCA member to look at Sprint’s program, and I look forward to our continued work with Sprint on CCA’s Data Access Hub and Device Hub, which will bring numerous additional benefits to competitive carriers and their consumers. This innovative approach will allow small carriers to remain vibrant, independent competitors in the marketplace.”
ABOUT COMPETITIVE CARRIERS ASSOCIATION
CCA is the nation’s leading association for competitive wireless providers and stakeholders across the United States. The licensed service area of CCA’s more than 100 carriers covers 95 percent of the nation. Visit competitivecarriers.org.
ABOUT THE RINA WIRELESS NETWORK
The RINA Wireless Networks is a cooperative, peer-to-peer combination of independent Communication Service Providers (CSPs) joining forces to secure the future of rural America. Providing Wireless Switching services, Core Hosting and investment in infrastructure with which the Cooperative arms its Members, and the manner in which they work for their individual and collective success, RINA helps to mitigate business and technology risk to yield successful and profitable deployment of 3G CDMA and 4G LTE services. The Cooperative believes in rural America and in the virtues of independence, community, and family. We also believe that irrespective of geography, every individual should have access to modern communications services that maintain those valuable connections.