Sprint, Competitive Carriers Association and NetAmerica Alliance Join Forces to Accelerate Deployment and Utilization of 4G LTE

  Sprint, Competitive Carriers Association and NetAmerica Alliance Join Forces
  to Accelerate Deployment and Utilization of 4G LTE across the United States

CCA Global Expo 2014

Business Wire

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- March 27, 2014

Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced that it has developed a program with CCA
(Competitive Carriers Association) and reached an agreement with the
NetAmerica Alliance to accelerate the deployment and utilization of 4G LTE
across rural America and allow carriers in those regions low-cost access to
Sprint’s nationwide network and the ability to purchase a wider range of
devices.

The CCA program and NetAmerica Alliance agreement will foster the continued
deployment of 4G LTE coverage throughout underserved American communities,
where the cost of building such networks and the roaming costs are often
prohibitively expensive. The programs announced today will foster a
competitive 4G LTE wireless ecosystem -- reducing roaming costs for carriers
and improving competition, while expanding Sprint’s coverage by giving its
customers the ability to roam on regional and rural carriers’ networks.

“Every American, regardless of where they live or work, should have access to
high-speed mobile broadband,” said Masayoshi Son, Sprint chairman. “The
programs developed by Sprint, CCA and the NetAmerica Alliance are a strong
first step to improving availability of LTE service and providing greater
device choice for Americans in rural areas. They are also a clear
demonstration of Sprint’s long-term commitment to bring real competition to
the wireless industry.”

In a keynote address to be delivered later this morning at the CCA Global
Expo, Son plans to invite members of both CCA and NetAmerica to join with
Sprint in accelerating their plans for deploying 4G LTE to the communities
they serve. Through these programs, CCA carriers and NetAmerica Alliance
Members are positioned to more efficiently and quickly deploy and support
their owned and operated 4G LTE networks. In turn, Sprint’s customers will be
able to roam on the 4G LTE networks being built by CCA and NetAmerica Alliance
Members across the country. To facilitate roaming between these networks,
beginning in January 2015, Sprint plans to offer 4G LTE devices that will
include a chipset allowing the devices to roam on the lower 700MHz spectrum
primarily in use by CCA and NetAmerica Alliance Members.

“Working together we can offer a faster network, better devices and a better
customer experience,” Son said. “I am confident we can take on the duopoly of
Verizon and AT&T, which currently are the only 4G LTE carriers in many parts
of the U.S.”

“Our programs with CCA and NetAmerica are a significant step forward for
Sprint, for rural carriers throughout the U.S. and, most importantly, for
rural customers who deserve a more competitive marketplace that offers greater
access to high-speed mobile broadband service,” said Stephen Bye, chief
technology officer at Sprint. “We are very pleased to be working alongside
rural carriers to provide customers faster networks, better coverage and
access to a wider range of handsets.”

Regional carriers and small operators in many markets are challenged to
provide strong mobile broadband coverage and service because of the expense of
building new 4G LTE networks, the lack of affordable nationwide 4G LTE
roaming, and the inability to obtain a broad portfolio of cost-effective and
popular devices consumers demand. Sprint, CCA and NetAmerica are launching
these programs to resolve these competitive challenges.

Under the program that establishes Sprint’s Rural Roaming Preferred Provider
Program with CCA:

  *CCA members will leverage the CCA-developed central data hub as a
    clearinghouse for participating CCA members to complete simple,
    commercially sustainable, individually negotiated, reciprocal roaming
    agreements with Sprint.
  *CCA members and Sprint will work together to align on technology
    evolution.
  *Sprint will work with CCA to create a device ecosystem that provides
    participating carriers greater access to new devices at reasonable costs.

“I am delighted that CCA has joined forces with Sprint and NetAmerica Alliance
to create a competitive ecosystem in which all competitive carriers can
thrive,” said Steven K. Berry, President & CEO of CCA. “Today’s announcement
is not only a new collective way of thinking for wireless operators, but it is
also an exciting, real solution for smaller carriers to get to 4G LTE and get
access to the latest devices. For over three years, CCA has been pursuing
competitive opportunities for carriers on both the policy and business fronts,
and this is proof positive that we are making great strides. Sprint is
thinking outside the box to promote competition – partnering and working with
smaller carriers to create a robust nationwide network, and this provides a
necessary opportunity for every carrier who wants to remain independent, while
providing a national network for their customers.”

Under the agreement with NetAmerica and its Small Market Alliance for Rural
Transformation (SMART) program:

  *NetAmerica Alliance Members will be able to access the Sprint network,
    have immediate access to select Sprint devices, and use Sprint’s spectrum.
  *NetAmerica will provide Members with assistance in planning, building and
    operating their LTE networks in partnership with Sprint.
  *In return, Sprint customers will have access to NetAmerica Alliance
    Members’ 4G LTE networks, which is expected to vastly improve Sprint’s
    services for its own customers nationwide.

“This is a landmark day for the rural carrier market and for the rural
consumer,” said Roger Hutton, Chairman and CEO of NetAmerica. “Through the
Sprint and NetAmerica shared network alliance, we are providing the 4G LTE
mobile solution rural carriers so desperately need to compete and we are
delivering on our promise to let rural consumers live and work where they
choose without compromise.”

Son’s address at the CCA Global Expo is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. CDT and
can be watched live here.

About Sprint:

Sprint (NYSE: S) offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline
communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers,
businesses and government users. Sprint served more than 55 million customers
at the end of 2013 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and
deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service
from a national carrier in the United States; leading prepaid brands including
Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and
international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet
backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint as the most
improved company in customer satisfaction, across all 47 industries, during
the last five years. Sprint has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability
Index (DJSI) North America in 2011, 2012 and 2013. You can learn more and
visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and
www.twitter.com/sprint.

About the Competitive Carriers Association

CCA is the nation’s leading association for competitive wireless providers and
stakeholders across the United States. The licensed service area of CCA’s more
than 100 carriers covers 95 percent of the nation. Visit
www.competitivecarriers.org.

About the NetAmerica Alliance

The NetAmerica Alliance is a democratic, peer-to-peer union of independent
Communication Service Providers (CSPs) joining forces to secure the future of
rural America. Through the programs, services, capabilities and investment in
infrastructure with which the Alliance arms its Members, and the manner in
which they work for their individual and collective success, NetAmerica helps
to mitigate business and technology risk to yield successful and profitable
deployment of 4G LTE service. The Alliance believes in rural America and in
the virtues of independence, community, and family. We also believe that
irrespective of geography, every individual should have access to modern
communications services that maintain those valuable connections. For more
information, visit:www.NetAmericaAlliance.com.

Contact:

Media Contacts for Sprint:
John Taylor, 703-592-8530
John.B.Taylor@sprint.com
or
Scott Sloat, 703-675-3794
Scott.Sloat@sprint.com
or
Media Contact for CCA:
Lucy Tutwiler, 202-449-9866
lucy.tutwiler@competitivecarriers.org
or
Media Contact for NetAmerica Alliance:
Ginny Gardea, 503-314-1056
Ginny.Gardea@NetAmericaAlliance.com
 
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