Montana-based Triangle Mobile has entered into an agreement that will allow Verizon Wireless to purchase the networks constructed as part of the decade-old ‘LTE in Rural America Programme’. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2021. Interestingly, following the deal’s closure, Triangle Mobile customers will have a six-month window within which to migrate their mobile lines to another carrier of their choice; at the end of the six-month migration period any remaining customers will see their service terminated.
Verizon provides additional context in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as discovered by Light Reading. The document explains: ‘Post-closing, Verizon Wireless intends to upgrade at its own expense Triangle’s existing network assets and facilities to provide better service throughout the markets. While Triangle’s LTE network is already built to Verizon’s specifications, Triangle’s CDMA service includes equipment manufactured by Huawei. Verizon Wireless does not use Huawei equipment in any of its network infrastructure and, among other things, will replace all Huawei equipment before integrating Triangle’s CDMA network into Verizon Wireless’s network.’ The transaction affects just 3,000 subscribers.
TeleGeography notes that Verizon recently closed its acquisition of Bluegrass Cellular, one of the most prominent participants in the LTE In Rural America Programme. The scheme, which was initiated in 2010, saw Verizon arrange to lease pockets of its 700MHz spectrum to rural carriers so that they could roll out LTE networks of their own, over which Verizon would have roaming rights. The project was ostensibly completed in October 2015, at which point all 21 participants had been confirmed by Verizon as being operational. Between them, the rural operators are said to cover more than 2.7 million people across 169 rural counties in 15 states. It remains to be seen as to whether Verizon is now in the process of striking deals with the remaining participants.