Feature Article

June 07, 2012

Clearwire Joins Rural Cellular Association's Opposition Against the Giants

To ensure that wireless carrier giants like AT&T and Verizon do not define the rules of the wireless game, smaller vendors have created Rural Cellular Association to protect the interests of its member carriers.

Since its founding in 1992, the roster has grown from mere nine to over 100 to become the leading association for competitive wireless providers serving all areas of the country.

 RCA's latest addition is Clearwire. Some other well-known names include T-Mobile USA, which joined in March; and Sprint, who came on board almost over a year ago.

Welcoming Clearwire, RCA president and CEO, Steven K. Berry, indicated he was looking forward to working with the newest member on policy issues most important to competitive carriers. For consumers to take advantage of dynamic broadband services like Clearwire’s 4G mobile network, according to Berry, it is necessary for the association to ensure that the policymakers work in a manner that maintains a competitive marketplace.

“It gives us great pleasure to join the RCA at an important time in the wireless industry,” said Don Stroberg, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and wholesale at Clearwire. “The many issues facing our business, including competitive balance, the spectrum crisis and the rapidly growing consumer demand for mobile broadband all require the type of cooperation and solutions that Clearwire is well positioned to provide. Our deep spectrum portfolio can be an important resource for relieving the growing capacity strain on today’s 4G deployments.”

Commenting on this development, The Motley Fool reporter Dan Radovsky wrote that RCA reset the upper limits of its bylaws to bring on board more players, especially a little bigger carriers like T-Mobile USA and Sprint. Until now, membership was limited to carriers with less than 10 million subscribers.

Sprint comes on board with 48 million subscribers, and T-Mobile USA with 33 million.

As per the Motley Fool report, RCA is currently fighting against Verizon’s large spectrum acquisitions. Verizon bought a large cache of wireless spectrum from several cable companies for $3.9 billion.

Verizon, however, has to prove that the acquisition of large spectrum is not anticompetitive. As per Radovsky’s report, if Verizon is unable to show that possessing large cache of wireless spectrum is not anticompetitive, the spectrum will be back on the table for possible purchase by the RCA members.

Edited by Braden Becker

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