US mobile operator Verizon Wireless has announced that all 21 participants have introduced commercial services under its LTE in Rural America (LRA) programme, which was launched just over five years ago to help wireless companies deploy 4G technology in rural parts of the country. In May 2010 Verizon revealed that it was looking to partner with rural operators in an effort to speed up its LTE deployments. The cellco has leased pockets of its 700MHz spectrum to rural carriers for the rollout of next generation networks, over which Verizon has roaming rights. The first participants launched commercial services in 2012, and since then over 1,000 4G LTE cell sites have been activated through the scheme, covering 2.7 million people across 169 rural counties in 15 states.
‘The LRA programme has positively impacted the lives of Americans from Maine to Alaska, and we are very proud to be a part of that,’ commented Verizon executive Philip Junker, adding: ‘Verizon has always been a responsible steward of spectrum resources. We had a vision of partnering with the rural carrier community, we put our resources behind that vision, and we delivered what we promised for our customers.’
Current LRA participants include Bluegrass Cellular, Cross Telephone, Pioneer Cellular, Cellcom, Thumb Cellular, Strata Networks, S and R Communications, Carolina West, Custer Telephone Cooperative, KPU Telecommunications, Chariton Valley Communication Corporation, Appalachian Wireless, Northwest Missouri Cellular, Chat Mobility, Matanuska Telephone Association, Wireless Partners, Triangle Communications, Nemont, Mid-Rivers Communications and Copper Valley Telecom.