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RCA becomes the Competitive Carriers Association

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After 20 years as the Rural Cellular Association the RCA has decided to rebrand itself as the Competitive Carriers Association to better reflect its membership and role in the industry. The group is announcing the name change just two weeks before its annual convention, which takes place Sept. 23-26 in Las Vegas.

According to Steve Berry, president of the CCA, the group isn't moving away from its roots--the organization was started 20 years ago by nine small operators that believed they needed a stronger voice in Washington, D.C. However, Berry said that CCA members are selling national wireless products and no longer use "rural" in their marketing materials or in their products. "Rural makes some people think it is not state-of-the-art technology or capability," Berry said. "That's not true because many of our members are operating state-of-the-art networks."

Earlier this year the association changed its bylaws to accommodate larger carriers. The group, which previously was an advocate for carriers with fewer than 10 million customers, now supports operators with fewer than 80 million subscribers. There are just two U.S. operators that count more than 80 million subscribers--AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ).

Berry added that the CCA will continue to advocate on issues that are important to operators throughout North America and will continue to be a "one carrier, one vote" organization. "We want the largest operators and the smallest operators to sit together and have a vote," Berry said.

He added that he believes the new name will be easier for policymakers to understand. "The name reflects who we are and the issues that we are supporting."

In June, the CCA added Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) to its membership roster. Last March the group added T-Mobile USA as a member and last year it added Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S).

For more:
- see this release

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