Sprint Recruits CCA and NetAmerica to Deploy Rural LTE

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Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of Sprint Corporation’s parent company SoftBank Corp. has announced during his keynote remarks at the annual Competitive Carrier Association (CCA) Global Expo conference that Sprint has developed a program with CCA and NetAmerica Alliance “to accelerate the deployment and utilization of 4G LTE across rural America and allow carriers in those regions low-cost access to Sprint’s nationwide network and the ability to purchase a wider range of devices.”  According to Sprint, the program will foster the continued deployment of 4G LTE throughout unserved American communities where build-out costs and existing roaming costs are often prohibitively expensive.  Mr. Son urged in his remarks that CCA and NetAmerica Alliance members join Sprint in taking on “the duopoly of Verizon and AT&T, which currently are the only 4G LTE carriers in many parts of the U.S.”  According to a Sprint press release, roaming service is expected to begin in January 2015 and to facilitate access, “Sprint plans to offer 4G LTE devices that will include a chipset allowing the devices to roam on the lower 700MHz spectrum primarily in use by CCA and NetAmerica Alliance Members.”  Under the program that establishes Sprint’s Rural Roaming Preferred Provider Program with CCA:  (1) CCA members will leverage the CCA-developed central data hub as a clearinghouse for participating CCA members to complete simple, commercially sustainable, individually negotiated, reciprocal roaming agreements with Sprint; (2) CCA members and Sprint will work together to align on technology evolution; and (3) Sprint will work with CCA to create a device ecosystem that provides participating carriers greater access to new devices at reasonable costs.  Under the agreement with NetAmerica and its Small Market Alliance for Rural Transformation (SMART) program:  (1) NetAmerica Alliance Members will be able to access the Sprint network, have immediate access to select Sprint devices, and use Sprint’s spectrum; (2) NetAmerica will provide Members with assistance in planning, building and operating their LTE networks in partnership with Sprint; and (3) Sprint customers will have access to NetAmerica Alliance Members’ 4G LTE networks, which is expected to vastly improve Sprint’s services for its own customers nationwide.  Mr. Son’s address at the CCA Global Expo can be viewed here.

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