The lobbying group Rural Cellular Association will announce today that it is rebranding its organization and calling itself the Competitive Carrier Association in order to help all competitive carriers compete more effectively against AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless, the two dominant carriers in the market.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless combined control more than 70% of the wireless market. Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile USA, their next closest competitors, are nowhere close in terms of the number of subscribers.
“AT&T’s attempt to buy T-Mobile woke up Sprint and other competitive carriers that had not been members of RCA,” said Steven Berry, CEO of the association. “They recognized that unless they took aggressive action, they were not going to be able to survive.” Sprint and T-Mobile have since joined the organization.
The association’s name change reflects of how the wireless industry has changed over the past few years. Small rural carriers, which were RCA’s original members, now have much in common with carriers serving urban areas, such as MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS).
The newly branded CCA will also help smaller and regional carriers forge competitive and cooperative relationships that will help give them power to control the supply chain for devices and technology, Berry also said.