The Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) is making it easier for smaller rural and regional carriers to get the devices they need with the launch of the Device Hub.

Apkudo is powering the platform that will provide better management of device portfolios for smaller carriers and create common device specifications that will boost manufacturers willingness to build handsets for smaller carriers.

As Apkudo CEO Josh Matthews describes it, the Device Hub is a win-win for carriers and manufacturers, making it simpler to get devices that are simpler to build. The Device Hub is available to all CCA members including Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular.

“The device game is a tough one right now. It’s dominated by the big two and everyone else is really struggling,” Matthews said.

To that end, the Device Hub creates a “virtual Tier-1 operator,” as Matthews puts it, to give OEMs a larger, less fragmented target audience to build for.

One component of that “virtualization” is SmartSpec, which mimics the device spec a big carrier like AT&T or Verizon hand over to an OEM but instead, it applies to all CCA members instead of just one provider. It’s built to deal with complex banding issues or smaller sticking points like customization, settings and pre-loaded apps.

“Handling that complexity all the way from big differences to the minutae of hundreds of thousands of little differences is what SmartSpec does for them,” Matthews said.

There will be a transitional period for the CCA members buying into the Device Hub but Matthews says, with the goal in mind of having the complete Hub in place over the next 12 months, that smaller carriers can begin to expect the right devices at the right time.

CCA’s and Apkudo’s announcement around the Device Hub aligns with Sprint’s recent announcement of a network ecosystem program designed to help smaller carriers expand or initiate their LTE footprints.