Despite its name, the Rural Cellular Association is quickly becoming the US wireless industry's go-to vehicle for carriers of all size who are looking to fight pro-Verizon, pro-AT&T policy in Washington — Sprint and T-Mobile have both joined, even though they're both behemoths compared to the RCA's rank and file. Cricket (via parent Leap Wireless) is the latest to hook into the RCA's lobbying engine, one of the country's larger regionals. As RCA president Steve Berry says, it's all about Cricket's policy goals being aligned with other members: "Cricket shares many of the same advocacy concerns as our current members, and their presence will only strengthen our fight to ensure the wireless industry is a competitive one."
2012 marks a particularly big year for wireless policy: Congress is poised to decide whether to restrict the FCC's ability to limit entrants in spectrum auctions, a major issue for smaller players hoping to see AT&T and Verizon restricted from using their massive buying power to push smaller players out of the bidding. To that end, it's no surprise to see everyone else getting into battle formation ahead of the next auction round.