The FCC had kind words for Verizon Wireless’ plan to license its 4G spectrum to rural carriers, which could help expand the reach of Verizon’s LTE network into remote and under-served areas.
“The news of Verizon Wireless’ plan to partner with rural providers to accelerate investment in 4G networks is very encouraging,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Meredith Baker in a joint statement. “Seamless universal connectivity is essential to economic growth and world-class technology leadership. We look forward to learning more about Verizon Wireless’ initiative, its successful implementation, and other examples of industry-led innovation.”
Verizon Wireless Chief Executive Lowell McAdam told The Wall Street Journal that the company was in talks with a number of rural operators to license its wireless spectrum as part of a plan to accelerate the deployment of its 4G network into remote areas. Verizon plans to cover 100 million people in at least 25 cities by the end of this year.
Under the proposed plan, Verizon would license its spectrum to local operators for a small fee. The local operators would then resell Verizon’s wireless broadband service, the infrastructure for which would be built out by either Verizon or the operator. McAdam told The Wall Street Journal that Verizon was also working on roaming agreements with rural carriers.
Verizon does not expect to make a lot of money from such deals but licensing its spectrum to rural operators could prove politically lucrative. The FCC has prioritized expanding broadband access to under-served rural areas and may make mobile data roaming mandatory under a recent proposal.
Verizon declined to elaborate further on its 4G spectrum licensing plans and roaming agreements with rural carriers.