Call it a new found boldness after the Softbank acquisition, or just an attempt to bolster its numbers in the continued fight against AT&T and Verizon, but Sprint is not letting up. Today, the nation's number three carrier announced it's going to buy up some of U.S. Cellular's spectrum and customers in mid-west states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. Among the newly Now Network'd markets are Chicago and St. Louis.
The spectrum offerings that the company is picking up will be used to bolster LTE service for the markets that Sprint is taking off U.S. Cellular's hands. It's not a monumental deal, by any means, but given that the Softbank-owned carrier could use any advantage it can get as it races to compete with the near-duopoly, it's definitely a good sign.
The transaction will add about 585,000 customers to Sprint's roster, and between 10-20MHz worth of spectrum in the 1900 band (depending on the market). The deal is subject to regulator approval (as are all deals of this nature), and is expected to close in mid-2013. Until the acquisition closes, U.S. Cellular customers will experience no changes to their plan. Following approval, Sprint will detail transitional programs for anyone staying with the company.
Sprint to Acquire Spectrum and Customers in the Midwest from U.S. Cellular for $480 Million
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), November 07, 2012 - Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM) to acquire PCS spectrum and customers in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio including the Chicago and St. Louis markets for $480 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. The additional spectrum will be used to supplement Sprint’s coverage in these areas as it continues to deploy its Network Vision upgrade and roll out 4G LTE nationally.
“This transaction will enable us to strengthen our business and become a more robust competitor,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint’s CEO. “Acquiring this spectrum will significantly increase Sprint’s network capacity and improve the customer experience in several important Midwest markets including Chicago and St. Louis. We welcome the new customers in these markets and look forward to providing them with Sprint’s unique combination of unlimited plans, an iconic device portfolio and unmatched customer service.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Sprint will acquire 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in the 1900 MHz band in various Midwest markets including Chicago, South Bend, Ind. and Champaign, Ill. and 10 MHz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis market. In addition, the transaction involves approximately 585,000 U.S. Cellular customers. U.S Cellular will continue its business operations outside of these markets following the closing.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals by the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission and is expected to close in mid-2013. In the meantime, the accounts and service of U.S. Cellular customers in these markets will not change. Once the transaction is closed, Sprint will provide additional information on transition plans. Customers with questions can go toUSCellularinfo.com to learn more.