Small carriers band together to promote rural competition

Honestly, upon reading the headline to this press release, I was hoping for a list of companies involved. After about a half hour of Googling, I’ve got nothing, so let’s get down to the issue at hand. NextGen Mobile LLC has announced the partnership of 28 “independent mobile operators and commercial mobile license owners,” which will take on issues facing the competition in and advancement of rural wireless. This issue has become a bit more prominent recently. Rural carriers have bemoaned policies which disfavor them for larger network operators. The two recent spectrum auctions, 700 MHz and AWS-1, exacerbated the issue, as has the universal service fund cap. This is the small guy’s way of fighting back. Some words from the CEO:

“Forming NextGen Mobile was a no-brainer,” says E. Kelly Bond, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of NextGen Mobile. “Once we realized that each and every one of our companies was separately facing the exact same market pressures, only in different geographic markets, it became clear that we can work together on a myriad of projects to help nurture the development and survivability of small and rural mobile networks. In this era of unprecedented consolidation within the wireless sector, small operators, especially those in sparsely populated markets, need to be resourceful in not just cutting costs, but also attracting and retaining customers. NextGen Mobile is the perfect vehicle to help mobile operators remain competitive while at the same time remaining independent and true to their local subscriber bases.”
Bond’s email address is from, which is Public Service Telephone Company. Secretary/Vice Chair Craig Freeman hails from Adams Telephone Co-Operative, and CFO Bob Martin is from ,PC Management, a company which provides wireless managed services. Presumably, these companies are part of those which make up NextGen. These companies all use, or plan to use, GSM technology, including UMTS, and which will expand to LTE. Martin shares a bit of what the company’s reason for forming and what they plan to do:
“A huge obstacle for any mobile operator who is not one of the ‘Big 5’ carriers is procurement of the latest, must-have handsets. By aggregating our orders, NextGen Mobile hopes to entice device manufacturers to develop and deliver the next ‘it’ handset or data card to those customers shut-out in the past. This is an unprecedented opportunity, not just for small operators, but more importantly, for our valuable customers.”
It sure seems like a noble cause. We’ll keep up to see which companies comprise this organization, as well as the initiatives they spearhead.]]>

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