Verizon Wireless has announced that its long-awaited 4G partnership with Alaska-based Matanuska Telephone Association (MTA) – which comprises part of Verizon’s ‘LTE in Rural America’ (LRA) programme – has now gone live. The newly constructed MTA network, which covers 1,552 square miles, gives the mobile giant broader 4G coverage in the least densely populated of the 50 United States.
MTA is one of 20 LRA participants, 13 of which have launched LTE services to date. Under the programme, which was initiated in 2010, rural carriers lease Verizon’s 700MHz Upper C block spectrum and build and operate their own LTE radio networks. The strategy allows rural carriers to introduce LTE technology without spending money on spectrum, and gives Verizon roaming rights in all LRA markets. According to Verizon, nearly 100,000 Verizon Wireless customers roam on LRA networks on a daily basis.
MTA’s LTE network is concentrated north of Anchorage, in the suburbs and along the highway connecting Anchorage to Fairbanks. TeleGeography notes that Verizon launched its own LTE network in June this year, covering Anchorage, Fairbanks, North Pole, Juneau, Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley, including Big Lake, Wasilla, Palmer, and Chugiak.