Some carriers just don’t have great coverage. A group of carriers that aren’t Verizon or AT&T have teamed up to form the Competitive Carrier Association, which is aimed at providing service to one another in an attempt to give customers a reason to use their services. The new Data Access Hub is one such endeavor, providing free data and voice roaming on networks outside a users’ home base.
Though primarily made up of smaller, regional carriers, Sprint has announced their membership in the association, with T-Mobile considering their options. Both are also on the steering committee for the Data Access Hub. CCA president Steve Berry says US Cellular and Sprint have both tested the hub out, which serves as a patchwork quilt of coverage.
“It would take billions of dollars and several years to build the kind of coverage AT&T and Verizon have today. That's why this concept of the hub is so empowering to smaller players and bigger operators like Sprint and T-Mobile” said Berry. Putting it plainly, he also added “The hub is all about providing coverage”. The hub is meant to disrupt carrier dominance enjoyed by AT&T and Verizon, all without individual carriers coming out of pocket to try and compete.
In a statement, T-Mobile said “T-Mobile applauds the work of CCA has done to develop a data hub for its members and we are exploring opportunities to participate. In addition, we support an ecosystem that promotes interoperability across spectrum bands.” If the association can get access to more customers via a roaming agreement, we all win. By acting as de facto MVNOs on each others’ network, the upside is huge — unless you’re Verizon or AT&T.