Two more participants in Verizon Wireless’s LTE in Rural America program – Bluegrass Cellular and Strata Networks — have launched or will soon launch 4G LTE service. Through that program, Verizon leases spectrum to the rural carriers, who build out 4G LTE service in their markets, with the partners having roaming agreements with one another.
Bluegrass and Strata join at least two other Verizon rural partners – Cellcom and Pioneer Cellular– in launching LTE service. Verizon’s LTE in Rural America program had 17 participants as of May 2012 but some have not yet turned up their LTE network.
Bluegrass has turned up 4G LTE in the Kentucky cities of Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Glasgow, Radcliff and Bardstown; as well as Fort Knox, the I-65 corridor between Louisville and Nashville; and parts of Hardin, Hart, Nelson, Barren and Warren counties. Strata this month plans to launch service in parts of Utah’s Duchesne and Uintah counties. Both companies have plans for additional market launches moving forward.
Bluegrass’s announcement came just days after the company said it would carry the iPhone 5, which was released to several large national carriers last month.
But, according to the Bluegrass web page, neither that product nor the previously announced iPhone 4s will work on the LTE network, instead working only with 3G. Bluegrass is one of several Verizon rural LTE partners to carry the iPhone4s, but none of those offerings work with LTE.
Strata said it plans to offer four devices for use with LTE – including a MiFi hotspot, a USB dongle for connecting a laptop or personal computer, and two smartphones – the Motorola RAZR MAXX and the HTC Fireball. Bluegrass’s web page indicates that the company will sell an LTE version of the HTC Desire smartphone.
Strata joined the Verizon LTE in Rural America program in February of 2011. Bluegrass joined in November of 2010.
5 thoughts on “More Verizon Rural Partners Launch LTE Service – Without iPhones”
With only 17 partners, seems like Verizon will still have big holes for their 4G LTE coverage in rural areas, especially on wide spans of interstate highways. Is this program finished, or are they continuing to sign partners?
Actually six partners have launched initial phases of their LTE in Rural America service. Pioneer and Cross Telephone in Oklahoma, Bluegrass in Kentucky, Chariton Valley in Missouri, Cellcom in Wisconsin, and Strata in Utah.
I know Chariton Valley launched last week for the Verizon LRA. Should be part of this article.
Sorry for any companies this article missed (In my defense I did say “at least two other”) Before writing the story I checked with Verizon & they referenced only four rural LTE launches. Verizon mentioned Cross but Cross doesn’t ever seem to have put out an announcement. They didn’t mention Strata, perhaps because it hadn’t launched yet only said it would. They did not mention Chariton at all.
Chariton's been running a couple months now, Cross just launched in October. Neither has phones to sell, so that's probably why there was no announcement. Pioneer's LTE system has been running since April and the only phone they sell that will use the network is the iPhone 5, with its VERY limited availability. This scarcity of phones is ridiculous, as these are Verizon-compatible LTE systems, the only difference is the phones these regional carriers will sell will not have all the crapware Verizon loads their phones up with. Maybe the manufacturers other than Apple won't sell a non-crapware phone to a carrier, who knows?