In an unusual development, Verizon Wireless confirmed this week that it is discussing license agreements with rural carriers that would allow such carriers to deploy and sell their own fourth-generation (4G) mobile services to customers via licensed Verizon spectrum for a fee. The goal of the discussions is to expedite the reach of Verizon’s planned 4G long-term evolution (LTE) network to rural markets that Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdams admitted “would take us a while to get to.” Verizon’s LTE network—which is slated to cover 100 million persons in at least 25 U.S. cities by year’s end—is expected to compete against the Sprint-Clearwire nationwide WiMax network that already is operating in several major U.S. markets. Under the proposed arrangement, Verizon would license to rural carriers spectrum won by Verizon in the FCC’s 2008 auction of 700 MHz frequencies. The task of installing network equipment and infrastructure would be assumed either by Verizon or the rural carrier. The agreement would also enable Verizon customers to roam on the rural carriers’ network and subscribers of the rural operator to roam on the Verizon network. Licensing fees paid by the rural carrier to Verizon would also be small, as McAdam stressed: “this is not something we’re looking to make a lot of money from.” As observers added that the plan corresponds with National Broadband Plan objectives of expanding broadband access to rural areas, an FCC spokesman said, “we look forward to reviewing the details of Verizon’s proposal.”