Rural wireless organization rebrands to further compete with Verizon and AT&T

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The Rural Cellular Association on Monday announce that it is rebranding itself as the Competitive Carrier Association to better reflect the carriers it represents. The RCA was founded more than 20 years ago by nine small operators that wanted a stronger voice in Washington. Over time the organization began to grow, however, and earlier this year it changed its bylaws to allow carriers with fewer than 80 million subscribers to become members — excluding only the two largest carriers, Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T).

“AT&T and Verizon Wireless have gotten so big so fast,” Steven Berry, CEO of the CCA, said in an interview with CNET. “The newly branded organization reflects the policy issues that have developed as the market has turned into a duopoly. Whether they are rural carriers or bigger nationwide carriers, they all share some of the same policy concerns around spectrum allocation, data roaming, and device interoperability.”

The group said in its press release that it plans to launch advocacy campaigns across North American that will enhance the competitive wireless marketplace, and will continue to operate as a “one carrier, one vote” organization.

“CCA will continue to work with policymakers to ensure competitive policies are adopted, which will benefit consumers, the economy and job growth,” Berry said. “The organization will continue to be a home for competitive carriers through our advocacy efforts, trade shows, and industry ecosystem development programs.”

The Competitive Carrier Association’s press release follows below.

RCA Re-Brands as Competitive Carriers Association (CCA)

20th Annual Convention Set for September 23-26 in Las Vegas

Washington, D.C., September 10, 2012 – The Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) announced its new name today, in line with its evolution into the voice for all players in the competitive carrier ecosystem. Formerly known as the Rural Cellular Association, or RCA – The Competitive Carriers Association, CCA has become the home for all competitive carriers who share a common goal – the ability to compete with the largest, national carriers to provide the best service to their customer.

Announced in advance of CCA’s 20th Annual Convention, which takes place September 23-26 at the Wynn Las Vegas, the name change also reflects the evolution of the wireless industry.

CCA will continue to advocate on issues of importance to carriers throughout North America, and will continue to operate as a “one carrier, one vote” organization. The organization’s new brand will serve as a platform for launching advocacy campaigns that enhance the competitive wireless marketplace across North America. With more carrier and associate members, CCA will have a greater impact on policymakers, speaking on behalf of businesses nationwide – not just in rural areas.

“Over the past several years, the wireless industry has seen increased consolidation and the emergence of a market duopoly. In light of the duopoly and the threat of further industry consolidation, our members – both large and small – all share a common goal,” said Steven K. Berry, president and CEO of CCA. “CCA will continue to work with policymakers to ensure competitive policies are adopted, which will benefit consumers, the economy and job growth. The organization will continue to be a home for competitive carriers through our advocacy efforts, trade shows, and industry ecosystem development programs.”

“The wireless industry cannot best serve the people of our nation with a duopoly in control of many of the critical industry inputs,” said Hu Meena, president and CEO, C Spire Wireless. “We are committed to returning to a fully competitive environment and to keeping it that way. Our association’s new name reflects this commitment.”

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