EATEL, a Gonzales, La.-based independent ILEC, is the latest wireline-centric service provider to craft a deal with a wireless operator to extend wireless services to its respective customer base.
Through this new wholesale agreement, EATEL will be able to offer its subscribers both wireless data and voice services via LightSquared's 4G LTE wireless network. One of the side benefits of working with the wireless operator is that it will be able to offer wireless integrated with coast-to-coast satellite coverage--an attribute that could come in handy as a disaster recovery/continuity of operations option for area businesses.
Having aggressively built out a triple play voice, video and data triple play bundle over its Fiber to the Home (FTTH)-based FiberEdge network, the ILEC could add wireless and offer a quad-play bundle and over time integrated wireless/wireline services like one-number dialing to the cell phone or wireline landline phone. As it has done with its FTTH network, EATEL will likely tout the quad play option as another differentiator to lure new customers from its main competitor Cox Communications.
Looking beyond its own traditional borders, John D. Scanlan, EATEL president, said that "LightSquared's network not only allows EATEL to offer our existing customers wireless broadband services, it also gives us a critical competitive advantage as we expand our services into new markets."
Following the lead of its larger ILEC counterparts CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Frontier (NYSE: FTR), which have established relationships with Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T (NYSE: T), respectively, to resell their wireless services, EATEL's move signifies an emerging trend where wireline-only service providers are crafting wireless resale agreements to bulk up their bundled capabilities to stay competitive against cable.
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