& cplSiteName &

Sprint Joins Forces With Rural America on LTE

Sarah Thomas
3/26/2014
50%
50%

SAN ANTONIO — CCA Global Expo — Through a partnership that's been years in the making, Sprint is joining forces with the Competitive Carriers Association and NetAmerica Alliance to accelerate 4G LTE deployments -- and device availability -- in rural America and to help Sprint fill in the gaps of its own LTE network.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) and NetAmerica Alliance LLC , announced the partnership called Small Market Alliance for Rural Transformation (SMART) on Wednesday in San Antonio, making good on SoftBank Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son's promise to bring mobile broadband to underserved areas and fight the big two US carriers.

By teaming up, Sprint is allowing CCA and NetAmerica carrier members to roam on its LTE network through the CCA’s Data Services Hub, build on its 800 MHz and 1900 MHz spectrum for new entrants or those that want to expand, as well offer devices that include a band 12 chip to roam on the lower 700MHz spectrum, which many of them have access to. In return, Sprint gets to roam on the LTE networks they may build or already are building, plugging big rural holes in its own 4G network. (See NetAmerica, Ericsson Offer Rural 4G Alternative.)

"This is an enabler for rural carriers who wouldn’t otherwise build LTE, and it gives an experience for our customers who want LTE nationwide," Sprint CTO Stephen Bye told reporters in a briefing Wednesday.

Rural mobile operators have long said they can't effectively compete because of the expense of 4G build outs, the lack of desirable spectrum available to them, and little access to compatible devices big operators lock up in exclusive deals. With today's announcements, some of those dynamics should start to change. For one thing, both AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and now Sprint have committed to building devices with band 12 support in them. Sprint said its first devices will come to market in January of next year that will interoperate with the rural carriers' networks. (See AT&T Closes $1.9B Verizon Spectrum Buy.)

"We felt Sprint was the perfect partner," NetAmerica Chairman and CEO Roger Hutton said. "They have a need to move their LTE network into rural America, but they also have spectrum assets and scale that can be provided to rural carriers to create that ecosystem."

The program may sound similar to Verizon Wireless 's Rural America LTE program, but, as CCA President and CEO Steven Berry describes it, Sprint's program is a lot more generous. With Verizon's program, operators are required to use its spectrum, build to their specs, and have little flexibility or room to add their own capabilities. And, when Verizon updates its network, its rural partners are required to spend to be compliant, Berry said. (See Verizon LTE Plan Not a Rural Slam-Dunk and Signs of Momentum With Rural 4G.)

Berry continued:

    In ours, carriers can use their own spectrum, own assets, harmonize capabilities with a network perspective alignment, but they also get devices that will allow them to provide a nationwide experience. It's not necessarily the Sprint core. They can use their own core, join CCA's roaming hub, or directly connect to Sprint.

The group isn't announcing any participating carriers at launch, but they insist that interest is high. And, while the CCA's other large member, T-Mobile US Inc. , is not currently participating in this alliance, Berry strongly hinted it could soon be involved. The uncarrier is already a partner for GSM roaming and is "part of the discussions" on LTE roaming, especially now that they've purchased 700 MGHz spectrum from Verizon, giving them band 12 needs. (See T-Mobile: Channel-51 Interference a Non-Issue and T-Mobile Spends $2.4B on Verizon Spectrum .)

Softbank's Son is addressing the CCA Expo crowd Thursday morning, where he'll elaborate on the program. It is certainly groundbreaking for the rural community and might even lead some regulators to believe Sprint doesn't need to merge with T-Mobile to be truly competitive now that it can get nationwide coverage. Sprint isn't commenting on that line of logic, but such an announcement shows there is strength in numbers when it comes to taking on AT&T and Verizon Wireless. (See Big Fish in the CCA's Pond.)

"It's 100 versus two," Berry said. "One hundred-plus carriers trying to build the equivalent of a tier-one carrier with a larger footprint than the big two."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
3/27/2014 | 1:52:50 PM
Good deal
It'll be interesting to see how this places out and the business relationships in place to make it happen. It seems like a big deal to me and a much better deal for the rural providers than what Verizon was offering. 

I just keep coming back to, if Sprint is now 100+ carriers strong, why does it need T-Mobile? Doesn't this prove it can forge it alone??
From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    LRTV Interviews
    Demand Surges for On-Demand Ads

    5|5|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Ed Knudson, VP, Product and Strategy at Canoe Ventures, discusses the rising appeal of VoD ads and the challenges on inserting ads dynamically in live TV programming.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Exclusive: Video Interview With Sckipio CEO David Baum

    5|5|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At his headquarters in Tel Aviv, G.fast visionary David Baum, CEO of Sckipio, provided an exclusive interview to Light Reading and showed how innovations in rate and reach, vector densities, fast reconnecting times and SFP-based residential gateways are expanding the potential of G.fast.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Atrinet's NetACE – Migration to NFV & SDN With NetOps-Driven LSO

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At Atrinet's headquarters, Ray Le Maistre sits down with Roy Silon to get an in-depth look into the company's focus and the secret recipe for their success.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Amsterdam ArenA, Powered by Huawei

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Huawei's ICT solutions power the state-of-the-art Amsterdam ArenA, turning it into a smart stadium.
    LRTV Interviews
    Testing When There's No 'There' There

    5|4|16   |     |   (1) comment


    The benefits of SDN/NFV are well known, but the transition comes with some challenges, prominent among them is: how do you test a network that has been abstracted and has the potential to be endlessly reconfigurable? Light Reading was at NFV World Congress in Santa Clara, Calif., where we bumped into Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds, a Swedish ...
    LRTV Interviews
    Ditching the Slash & the Orchestration Wars

    5|3|16   |     |   (2) comments


    SDN and NFV have been inextricably bound with each other for so long that on a conceptual level, smooshing them together into one catch-all phrase – SDNFV – is now justifiable, according to Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Light Reading spoke to Pitt at the NFV World Congress, where he explained that the next ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    ZTE TV Connect Highlights

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    ZTE gives us a tour of its booth and new products at TV Connect in London.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and visit the Deluxe booth at NAB! Here you'll find Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution, OTT video, virtual reality, HDR, 4K and much more!
    LRTV Interviews
    Verizon Puts Gray Boxes in the Shade

    5|2|16   |   04:33   |   (1) comment


    When it comes to the white box trend, "gray" boxes, which have a slight proprietary twist, don't give service providers and end users the advantages they're seeking, according to Verizon's Vice President of Product and New Business Innovation Shawn Hakl.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Dealing With a Disrupted Video Market

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Ericsson's Simon Frost discusses how traditional pay-TV providers can cope with the big changes wrought by the rise of OTT video and IP technology.
    LRTV Custom TV
    The VNF Responsibility of Red Hat

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At MWC, Caroline Chappell of Heavy Reading visits the Red Hat booth and sits down with Chris Wright to talk about the responsibility the VNF needs to take on in order to ensure the operators get the carrier-grade performance they expect for their network.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    Amazon AWS Reports $2.6B Quarterly Revenue, Up a Colossal 64%
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/28/2016
    WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 4/29/2016
    Sprint CEO: Our Spectrum Is for 5G
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/3/2016
    Amazon & Other 'Big 4' Cloud Providers Crushing Competitors
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/29/2016
    Rovi Reels in TiVo for $1.1B
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/29/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Sloth Mail Click Here
    Sloth mail -- somehow even slower than snail mail.
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.