Just as Sprint did last year, T-Mobile USA has joined the Rural Cellular Association, an organization that traditionally caters to the needs of much smaller operators serving rural areas (as its name implies). Of course, the RCA has found its philosophies particularly well-aligned with those of the smaller national carriers in recent years — like Sprint and T-Mobile, the RCA has been opposed to Verizon's attempt to scoop up AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo and a congressional effort to limit the FCC's ability to control bidding in spectrum auctions. Until recently, AT&T's attempted purchase of T-Mobile was clearly a conflict of interest preventing it from joining sooner than it did, but with that deal now officially off the table, the nation's number four carrier has an entirely different set of needs on its hands as it pushes into an LTE deployment in the next couple years.
The RCA says that T-Mobile will be joining its annual meeting at the end of March "to discuss policy challenges ahead for the wireless industry," and in all likelihood, Sprint will be there as well. Notably absent? Verizon and AT&T, who — barring a major power shift in wireless — won't be looking to the RCA for help in Washington anytime soon.