Sprint announced Friday that it has signed roaming deals with 15 new carriers in order to extend coverage for its 4G LTE network.
The deals will help the telecommunications giant cover an extra 4 million possible customers for the network, according to CNET.
The announcement follows almost three months after Sprint signed deals with 12 rural carriers, which extended the 4G LTE network to 34 million potential customers in 23 states. The company now has deals with 27 carriers and will give network access to 38 million people in 27 states.
A source with knowledge of the program estimates said that Sprint has the opportunity to save close to $1.9 billion in expenditures on new cell phone towers and other infrastructure that it would need to bring 4G coverage to new areas on its own, Reuters reported.
The network has mainly been provided in metropolitan areas, similar to T-Mobile's network. Verizon and AT&T, the two biggest careers in the U.S., on the other hand, have extended their coverage to cover both metropolitan and rural areas.
Masayoshi Son, Sprint's chairman, made a deal with the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) in March to develop a roaming program that would cover rural areas, Reuters reported. The CCA represents many rural and regional carriers in the U.S.
Among the 15 new partners announced Friday are Bluegrass Cellular in Kentucky, Pine Belt Wireless in Alabama, and Syringa Wireless in Idaho.
Executives from Sprint said customers expect to have 4G LTE no matter where they are, CNET reported. With the new roaming deals, rural operators now have more of a reason to build their own 4G LTE networks as the partnerships will allow customers to roam onto Sprint's 4G LTE service in all of the major markets that Sprint is involved in.