Rural Carriers Continue to Invest in Wireless Services Despite Concerns About Roaming, Competition

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Withers, 703-351-2086,
               Wendy Mann, 703-351-2087,

Arlington, Va. (October 10, 2012) – Rural telecommunications providers continue to invest in wireless services despite growing concerns about competition and difficulty negotiating roaming agreements, according to a new survey by the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA).

The association’s “2012 Wireless Survey Report” found that 62% of respondents are providing wireless service to their customers and that cumulative investment in wireless facilities by rural local exchange carriers now averages $11.7 million per carrier, with an additional $1.4 million, on average, invested in spectrum.

While they have stepped up wireless investments, small, rural carriers also continue to be concerned with a number of factors affecting their ability to offer affordable and reliable wireless services. Ninety-two percent of respondents cited competition from national carriers as their chief concern, compared with 75% of 2011 respondents. Negotiating roaming agreements also remains challenging, with 69% of respondents in 2012 classifying their experience in negotiating data roaming and in-market roaming agreements with other carriers as moderately to extremely difficult.

“Wireless services are critical to the continued success of small, rural carriers as their customers’ appetite for mobile technologies grows,” said NTCA Economist Rick Schadelbauer. “While they continue to make significant investments in wireless infrastructure, competition and negotiating roaming agreements remain barriers to providing the high-quality, competitive wireless services key to retaining current customers and attracting new ones.”

NTCA’s wireless survey was conducted in the summer of 2012. More than 100 of NTCA member companies participated.


The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 580 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at