Shentel to become Sprint LTE affiliate

Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) signed an addendum to its affiliate deal with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) that gives it access to additional 1900 MHz and 800 MHz spectrum in exchange for its building of an LTE network using Alcatel-Lucent gear that matches Sprint's Network Vision architecture.

The Sprint/Shentel affiliate deal appears to be similar Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) Rural America LTE program, which now includes 12 participating rural operator partners and is expected to see its first commercial launches early this year. Under the Verizon program, rural operators partnering with Verizon lease 700 MHz spectrum from Verizon and build and run their own LTE networks using the spectrum.

Shentel is a Sprint affiliate and has offered CDMA service in 1900 MHz spectrum in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. since 1995. As of the third quarter of 2011, the company counted around 341,000 wireless subscribers. In July 2010 the company also signed a deal with Sprint allowing Shentel to offer Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile prepaid services.

Shentel said that its addendum with Sprint extends the initial terms of its affiliate deal an extra five years from 2019 to 2024. It also increases the cap on the net service fee from 12 percent to 14 percent on July 1, 2013.

For more:
- see this release

Related Articles:
Verizon's rural LTE partners to begin commercial launches in early 2012
Verizon adds 12th rural LTE partner
Verizon adds 11th operator to rural LTE program
Newest Verizon LTE rural partner planning mobile payments solution
Despite challenges, LTE catching fire among rural U.S. carriers