Washington, D.C. – The Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. (RTG), a trade association representing small, rural wireless carriers, is skeptical about the likelihood of Verizon Wireless (Verizon) actually following through on its announcement to share spectrum with small and rural carriers, and is even less convinced that rural Americans would benefit should one of these proposed deals actually become a reality.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Verizon was in negotiations to sell or lease a portion of its 700 MHz spectrum to other carriers in order to expedite build-out of LTE across the country. While the concept of such a close collaboration between small and large carriers sounds promising, the history of Verizon is such that there is little track record to suggest anything will come of this proposal.
RTG wishes to clarify that none of its members have been contacted by Verizon regarding a potential rural spectrum partnership for 700 MHz spectrum. In fact, industry information suggests that Verizon has entered into some level of negotiations with only two wireless carriers, both of whom are CTIA members.
Much like FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Meredith Baker, RTG is looking forward to learning more about Verizon’s proposal and hopes that Verizon will reach out to either RTG or its members to begin a dialogue. The FCC, however, should not be placated by Verizon’s announcement, and should move forward expeditiously to require that Verizon, and other carriers, allow data-roaming on reasonable rates and terms, to mandate that 700 MHz devices be capable of operating on all 700 MHz paired spectrum and to keep Verizon from warehousing valuable spectrum in rural areas.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, RTG is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who serve less than 100,000 subscribers. RTG’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient and innovative telecommunications technologies to remote and underserved communities. www.ruraltelecomgroup.org
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