NetAmerica Alliance brands 4G service 'Bonfire'

NetAmerica Alliance is calling its 4G LTE service "Bonfire." The group said it selected that name because everyone, no matter their age or gender, has an image of fun, family and community associated with a bonfire.

The group also announced that Panhandle Telephone Cooperative became its second member to launch LTE service. Panhandle launched LTE in rural Oklahoma. The network consists of 45 towers covering 5,000 square miles and reaches nearly 30,000 people. Panhandle has been an Alliance member since last year and owns spectrum across six counties and covering more than 45,000 people and 7,500 square miles.

In February, Peoples Telephone Cooperative became the first NetAmerica member to launch LTE. People's launched fixed LTE service in rural Texas, replacing its previous WMAX offering.

NetAmerica is an alliance of independent carriers that works to provide unified buying power, roaming, nationwide branding, marketing and training programs and a joint network operations center.

In March 2011, Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and NetAmerica announced they would work together to create economies of scale for independent local exchange carriers (ILECs) planning to use certain frequencies of the 700 MHz and AWS bands for LTE in rural markets. The deal with Ericsson called for the world's largest vendor to offer LTE radio functionality, evolved packet core, IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) and a family of LTE-centric home and small business gateways.

In January 2012, the alliance announced it had completed installation of its SuperCenter, which houses both IMS as well as a network operations center (NOC).

For more:
- see this release

Related Articles:
Peoples Telephone is first NetAmerica member to launch rural LTE
NetAmerica set to use Ericsson 4G LTE gateway
NetAmerica launches LTE pilot network for rural operators
Despite challenges, LTE catching fire among rural U.S. carriers
NetAmerica expands rural LTE footprint with new members
Ericsson, NetAmerica aim to create economies of scale for rural LTE networks