Verizon says Sprint needs to buck up and build out its own network in rural areas rather than asking the FCC to consider changing its rules with regards to acceptable roaming rates. 

In an ex parte filing with the FCC, Verizon said Sprint was relying on "tired arguments" as part of a campaign to achieve "artificially low roaming so it can avoid building out its own network." 

Verizon is asking the FCC to reject Sprint's proposals and maintain its current roaming policies, which Verizon argues encourage carriers to expand their own networks. 

Verizon contends that Sprint is relying a business model that sees it invest most of its capital in high-return urban areas, while providing a "lowest cost service" in rural and suburban areas where it doesn't have coverage. 

For its part, Sprint says that it and T-Mobile haven't built out their networks in the five most rural states in the country because it simply isn't economically feasible. 

"In many rural areas, where it is note economically feasible or rational to install duplicative network facilities given the unique challenges associated with overcoming low population densities, incentives are not the issue," Sprint argued. "Less densely populated areas do not generate the revenue necessary to sustain the high cost of installing and operating multiple networks."

And while Verizon argues that Sprint has plenty of spectrum upon which to build out its network, Sprint retorts that the spectrum it does have, much of which is in the higher bands, isn't well suited for rural deployments. 

"As the Commission recognizes, 'some providers may face significantly increased costs to build-out using higher spectrum frequencies,'" Sprint wrote. "A carrier holding spectrum in a higher frequency range generally would have to construct more cell sites at greater cost than a licensee with primary holdings in a lower frequency band to achieve equivalent coverage."

Verizon lambasts Sprint for claiming that AT&T and Verizon have a head start on their networks. In its arguments, Sprint repeatedly returns to the idea that the nation's two largest carriers were allowed government subsidies to which it wasn't privy. 

To that Verizon asserts that "Sprint is trying to shift the focus from the consequences of its business strategy by raising tangential issues. The Commission should reject these claims out of hand."