Partners in Verizon Wireless' rural LTE program are making progress, with half a dozen set to deliver commercial service before the year is out.
Verizon exec Philip Junker says more carriers will join forces with America's largest wireless carrier in coming months, a real boon to the millions of Americans who don't live in or around major cities, according to an article by Fierce Wireless.
In May, Pioneer Cellular went live with LTE in six counties in Oklahoma, the first of Verizon’s LTE in Rural America partners to bring a commercial service through the program. It allows smaller operators to lease Verizon's 700 MHz spectrum in areas where it isn't economically feasible for Verizon itself to build out the network. In return, rural partners get reciprocal roaming privileges from Verizon, essentially giving them essentially a nationwide footprint. That's an important consideration for a smaller operator trying to bring service parity to underserved communities.
Verizon is hosting a summit this week in Waltham, Mass., for all 17 carrier partners in its program. That's home to Verizon's LTE Innovation Center.
Among Verizon's rural partners are Bluegrass Cellular; Northwest Missouri Cellular; and Copper Valley Telecom. Junker wouldn't tell Fierce which rural operators are poised to join the LTE program.
Cellcom and Appalachian Wireless – two other carriers in the program – will sell Apple's new, LTE-compatible iPhone 5 before the month is out.