Cellular South has cut its ties with CTIA, alleging the industry association plays favorites with the likes of Tier 1 operators such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
The Mississippi-based carrier has grievances with a number of CTIA decisions it says favor larger carriers, particularly handset exclusivity deals, spectrum and data roaming.
“Increasingly the small carrier voice is ignored and those who contribute the most get to set the agenda,” says Eric Graham, Cellular South’s vice president of government relations. AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the country’s top two operators based on subscribers, are also major contributors to CTIA.
Graham says that the carrier’s concerns about the issue went ignored when Cellular South brought the topic before CTIA’s executive committee in 2008.
In a statement, CTIA Vice President of Public Affairs John Walls defended the association’s work with its members.
“Companies make membership decisions based on numerous factors and then act in what they believe is their best interest. Our membership roster includes carriers of all sizes, and our primary goal is to represent all of them as best we can,” he said. “We respect our members, listen to their concerns and ideas, and work with all of them to develop policies that will continue to enable the growth of this hypercompetitive industry.”
Graham says Walls is accurate only in words, not in practice. “It depends on how you define “work,” he says. “It’s factually correct that members can voice their concerns, but they’re continually ignored.”
Cellular South continues to be a member of the Rural Cellular Association.