Bluegrass Cellular announces LTE spectrum leasing deal with Verizon Wireless

Rural operator Bluegrass Cellular revealed that it has entered into an agreement with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) to bring LTE into central Kentucky.

The deal calls for Verizon Wireless to lease its 700 MHz upper C-block wireless spectrum to Bluegrass Cellular in its service areas where Verizon has not built a network. Using the leased spectrum, Bluegrass will build and operate its own LTE network and serve Bluegrass customers, Verizon Wireless customers and customers of the other rural operators who make LTE deals with Verizon. In addition, Bluegrass Cellular customers will have access to Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network throughout the United States.

Earlier this year, Verizon proposed sharing access with operators in rural areas via spectrum lease agreements to quickly grow its LTE footprint. Last month during the CTIA Enterprise & Applications show, Verizon Communications President and COO Lowell McAdam said that some 200 operators had reached out to the company. He also said Verizon had reached agreements with five operators and was in discussions with another 12 operators. Verizon will launch LTE before the end of the year in a total of 38 cities and more than 60 airports, from Seattle to Denver to Boston, covering 110 million POPs.

"We view the LTE in Rural America program as the fastest approach to provide fourth-generation nation-wide network services to Bluegrass Cellular customers," said Bluegrass Cellular President Ron Smith in a press release. "Rural wireless customers have the need for 4G LTE high-speed wireless data services both at home and when traveling, and this agreement will help us meet those needs and expectations for our customers."

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
Verizon talks of LTE plans: 38 markets by year end
Verizon in talks with rural operators for LTE spectrum deals
RCA steps up as advocate for small carriers
Verizon breaks ground on LTE center
Verizon's Lynch: LTE on track for 2010 launch
Verizon planning customer LTE trials this summer

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