Achieving reliable cellular connectivity in rural areas is a challenge for several reasons: lack of economic incentives for telecom providers; high deployment and maintenance costs; low purchasing power; poor and unreliable power infrastructures; poor backhaul support; and lack of ground expertise. .is paper proposes the design, implementation and deployment of the Virtual Cellular ISPs (VC-ISP), a ground-up cellular network architecture that enables third-party vendors to o.er cellular coverage and mobile services to rural areas in an extensible manner. Unlike conventional monolithic cellular network architecture, the VC-ISP model enables a distributed (and potentially disjointed) collection of open, programmable cellular base stations to communicate using a novel intermi.ency-aware naming and addressing mechanism. .is system enables VC-ISPs to provide reliable service with graceful recovery from failures under harsh network conditions. VC-ISP o.ers support for deploying local applications. Here, we demonstrate the technical viability of the VC-ISP model using a real-world 3- node VC-ISP deployment, including installation of a solar-powered cell tower in rural Ghana and additional emulation experiments in controlled environments.