The U.S. mobile market is notoriously ultra-competitive, and household names like Sprint aren't the only ones to have been squeezed out in recent years.
Since 2020, Verizon Wireless has snapped up regional players such as Chat Mobility, Bluegrass Cellular, Triangle Mobile, and Chariton Valley Communications.
Tellingly, all four operators were participants in the telecom giant’s “LTE in Rural America” program, which leased 700MHz of spectrum to regional players in areas where Verizon had no intention of deploying infrastructure. After going live in 2010, the project was completed in October 2015, when all 21 participants were confirmed to be operational.
At the program’s peak, operators collectively covered more than 2.7 million people across 169 rural counties in 15 states.
Despite Verizon’s low-key takeover spree, dozens of smaller players continue to thrive in the U.S. This week we take a deep dive into the regional cellular scene and uncover the cellcos serving rural America.