Instead of building its own coverage infrastructure in areas where the deer and antelope play, Sprint is teaming up with smaller carriers to create a cross-country roaming network. At its conference tomorrow, the Competitive Carrier Association (CCA) is expected to announce the launch of its Data Access Hub and a partnership with Sprint, which will create a coast-to-coast 4G network that's comprised of many smaller regional networks that are all stitched together. As CNET tells it, this could give Sprint (and possibly T-Mobile, should it join) customers access to rural data networks -- areas that are typically dead zones -- and those on the rural networks would gain access to urban LTE coverage; the street would go both ways here it seems.

The CCA's president, Steve Berry, says that the reasoning behind the shift is simple: it'd take billions of dollars and several years for the Now network or the magenta carrier to build their own rural coverage areas to rival the likes of AT&T and Verizon. This move could help level the playing field for the smaller carriers, he says, and possibly provide a better experience for pretty much everyone involved.

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