Verizon's rural LTE partners to begin commercial launches in early 2012

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) said its LTE in Rural America program--which includes 12 rural operator partners--is expected to see its first commercial launches early next year.

The operator said it is testing LTE services with two unnamed operators. Philip Junker, executive director of strategic alliances at Verizon, said during the LTE North America conference in Dallas that those 12 carriers in the program will cover 124 counties in 10 states and cover 2.6 million potential customers across more than 82,000 square miles.

Under the program, rural operators partnering with Verizon lease 700 MHz spectrum from the operator and build and run their own LTE networks using the spectrum.

Junker reiterated that Verizon is taking a hands-off approach as to how its rural partners operate their networks. For instance, its rural partners will be able to set their own pricing plans. Moreover, these operators are free to make their own negotiations with vendors on device pricing.

Verizon Wireless added its 12th rural operator into the program in October by bringing Kentucky-based Appalachian Wireless into the fold. Other Verizon rural LTE partners include Chariton Valley Communications, Custer Telephone, Carolina West Wireless, S and R Communications, Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, Cross Wireless, Pioneer Cellular, Strata Networks, Thumb Cellular and Convergence Technologies.

For more:
- see this RCR Wireless article

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