According to an unnamed Sprint executive cited by the popular S4GRU blog (Sprint 4G Rollout Updates), Sprint’s recent agreement with members of the CCA (Competitive Carriers Association) will allow Sprint customers the ability to roam across the Rural Roaming Preferred Program partner networks, as if it were native coverage. In other words, this means that Sprint’s LTE network is about to get a lot bigger, a lot faster.
The purpose of the CCA is to provide smaller, more rural cell phone carriers access to each other’s fledgling LTE networks, in order to better compete with the big national players and provide their customers with better coverage. It’s basically like a network sharing agreement with dozens of carriers taking part. Sprint and T-Mobile have both expressed interest, but this is the first we’re hearing now about how Sprint customers in particular will benefit.
The anonymous Sprint executive said the point of these sharing agreements is to provide a seamless customer experience for Sprint customers when traveling outside of native Sprint coverage. Because this will be totally transparent to the end user, it will feel exactly like they are still on the Sprint network, and in many cases – since rural networks tend to be less congested – they will get better performance too.
This is great news for Sprint customers, although I’m also interested in how T-Mobile plans to participate in the CCA. In any case, more LTE equals more win.[S4GRU]