US WiMAX-turned-Long Term Evolution (LTE) operator Clearwire has become the latest carrier to join the Rural Cellular Association (RCA), adding further clout to an organisation that has effectively added all competitive wireless carriers except AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. Despite its parochial-sounding name, the RCA has quickly attracted the patronage of a disparate array of mobile operators. Sprint joined the RCA last spring, with fellow big-hitters T-Mobile USA and Cricket Communications (Leap Wireless) following suit in March this year, even though they are giants compared to the RCA’s rank and file membership, which includes more than 100 companies spanning 95% of the country. Many industry insiders view the RCA as a growing force in combating the dominance of the two aforementioned wireless giants – especially with regards to telecoms policy in Washington. According to Fierce Wireless, the RCA recently changed its bylaws to accommodate larger carriers. Although it was previously an advocate for cellcos with fewer than ten million customers, it now supports operators with up to 80 million subscribers, setting it deliberately at odds with AT&T and Verizon. Don Stroberg, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and wholesale at Clearwire commented: ‘The many issues facing our business, including competitive balance, the spectrum crisis and the rapidly growing consumer demand for mobile broadband all require the type of cooperation and solutions that Clearwire is well positioned to provide. Our deep spectrum portfolio can be an important resource for relieving the growing capacity strain on today’s 4G deployments’.