Verizon announced this week that it was rolling out LTE to rural communities in select areas of the south and mid-western United State. The carrier is expanding its 4G service to less populous areas through its Rural America program As part of this program, local carriers partner with Verizon Wireless to expand 4G service. Verizon uses the local carrier’s cell towers and back haul to install their 4G antennas. The local carriers will lease the wireless service from Verizon Wireless and resell it to their customers. It’s a win-win situation as Verizon does not have to provide the towers or back haul and the local carriers do not have to supply or maintain the 4G equipment.
Thus far, several hundred organizations have shown interest in the Rural America program and six carriers have officially signed up. These carriers include Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, Cross Wireless, Pioneer Cellular, Strata Networks and Thumb Cellular. Collectively, these carriers cover 1.8 million customers and span over 58,000 square miles in five states (Kentucky, Oklahoma, Michigan, Wisconsin and Utah). This Rural America plan will help Verizon reach its 4G coverage goals which include a plan to roll out LTE to an additional 140 markets by the end of 2011 and to cover its entire 3G footprint by the end of 2013.
The full press release with all the details is available on the second page.