With its planned acquisition of T-Mobile that was announced on Sunday, AT&T highlighted opportunities to bring LTE to suburban and rural areas by combining spectrum from the two companies. On Tuesday, Swedish mobile equipment giant Ericsson announced a partnership with NetAmerica Alliance, a service provider that plans to unite many small owners of spectrum in rural areas and piece together a national LTE network, offering broader coverage through roaming agreements.
However, some observers question the economic viability of networks designed to reach sparsely populated areas, particularly with traditionally expensive technologies such as satellite.
"If it was really that hot a market, the (major) carriers would have built there," said NPD Group analyst Eddie Hold.
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