After 20 years operating as the Rural Cellular Association (RCA) the Washington-based pressure group has reportedly rebranded itself as the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) to better reflect its membership and enlarged role within the industry. Fierce Wireless quotes CCA president Steve Berry as saying: ‘Rural makes some people think it is not state-of-the-art technology or capability. That is not true because many of our members are operating state-of-the-art networks. We want the largest operators and the smallest operators to sit together and have a vote. The name reflects who we are and the issues that we are supporting’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June this year US WiMAX-turned-Long Term Evolution (LTE) operator Clearwire became the latest carrier to join the then-RCA, adding further clout to an organisation that has effectively added all competitive wireless carriers except AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. The group successfully attracted the patronage of a disparate array of mobile operators, including big-hitters Sprint Nextel (Spring 2011) and T-Mobile USA (March 2012). The RCA’s rank and file membership includes more than 100 companies spanning 95% of the country. In order to accommodate the larger players, the RCA changed its bylaws; although it was previously an advocate for cellcos with fewer than ten million customers, it now supports operators with up to 80 million subscribers, setting it deliberately at odds with AT&T and Verizon.
The RCA, which was founded 20 years ago, by nine small-scale regional operators, is widely acknowledged by industry insiders as a growing force in combating the dominance of AT&T and Verizon, especially with regards to telecoms policy in Washington.