Cricket Communications today became the
latest carrier to sign on to the Rural Cellular Association (RCA), which
frequently takes policy stances diametrically opposed to AT&T and Verizon
The prepaid provider’s membership was
announced one week after T-Mobile USAsaid it had joined the RCA, adding to the trade group’s lobbying clout on Capitol
The RCA is “uniquely positioned” to deal
with policy issues like spectrum auctions and roaming policies that are
“critical to Cricket’s continued success,” said Rob Irving, senior vice
president of general counsel and secretary for Cricket and parent company Leap
Wireless International, in a statement.
Irving has been appointed to RCA’s board
of directors, and Leap President and CEO Doug Hutcheson will speak at the
group’s spring conference next week in Orlando, Fla.
RCA has positioned itself as the trade
association for all U.S. wireless operators except AT&T and Verizon, whom
it refers to as the “Twin Bells” and has characterized as a
The group got its start representing
regional providers, but its willingness to take on the nation’s top two
operators has attracted an increasing number of companies with larger customer
bases. Top issues include an end to
exclusive handset deals, like AT&T’s multi-year hold on the iPhone,
interoperability in the 700 MHz band and mandatory data roaming agreements.
CTIA, whose members include AT&T and
Verizon, did not take a stance on the merger. It has also remained neutral on
other contentious issues where there is disagreement between its larger and smaller
members, such as data roaming.
Cricket, Sprint and T-Mobile all hold
dual memberships in both CTIA and the RCA.