T-Mobile US is joining the Competitive Carriers Association’s LTE data roaming hub, giving small and rural carriers another partner to work with as they seek to expand their network coverage.
Sprint has been the main player in the hub, which allows CCA members to connect to the hub to roam onto the networks of all of the players in the hub. The data roaming hub, which is powered by Transaction Network Services, serves as a clearinghouse for participating members to create reciprocal roaming agreements. CCA also noted that the hub provides a single point of international interconnection for LTE and next-generation data services.
The hub was launched in March 2013 and Sprint joined in March 2014. T-Mobile has been part of the steering committee for the roaming hub but had not previously allowed CCA members to connect to its network via the hub. According to CCA, there are more than a dozen participating rural and regional carriers in the hub.
T-Mobile’s LTE network covers 290 million POPs, and primarily uses the 700 MHz A Block, which some smaller carriers like U.S. Cellular and C Spire Wireless also support, as well as the 1700 MHZ AWS-1 band and the 1900 MHz PCS band. Sprint’s LTE network covers 280 million POPs at last count, and uses the 800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands.
Smaller carriers will now be able to access T-Mobile’s LTE network for roaming through the hub and T-Mobile will be able to expand roaming partnerships and extend its footprint with members whose network technologies had previously been incompatible.
T-Mobile has leased its spectrum to other carriers in an effort to expand its LTE network, though it’s unclear how extensive those efforts have been. T-Mobile has LTE roaming agreements withs its affiliate iWireless as well as General Communication (GCI) in Alaska.
Members of the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) have access to a one-of-a-kind LTE data roaming hub developed by Transaction Network Services (TNS).
The hub was created in response to a formal request for proposal (RFP) issued by CAA, which sought out organizations interested in hosting the service. The steering committee of CCA’s Business Innovation Group ultimately selected TNS to provide the hub.
The hub should help competitive carriers work more easily together to expand their national footprints and will also provide a single point of interconnection for international operators looking to negotiate and implement roaming agreements with CCA members for LTE and other data services.
“For competitive carriers to continue to compete and survive in the marketplace, they must have real roaming solutions, and I am pleased that TNS will provide a platform to achieve this important goal,”
said Steven Berry, CCA president and CEO.
Surendra Saboo, CEO of TNS’ telecom services division, said enabling LTE roaming and next-generation data services is crucial to helping operators realize high margin roaming revenues, grow ARPU and prevent the churn of high-value subscribers.
In September 2012, the Rural Cellular Association rebranded as the Competitive Carriers Association to better reflect its membership and role in the industry as it began adding larger carriers to its roster. Members now include Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S).
Source: Fierce Wireless