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.

Source: Sprint

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.

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Nicholas Brickhouse

    Since when did Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio become Midwest states? Missouri maybe but the others are great lake states.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/doomstang Doomstang

      Wiki says:

      The Midwestern United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is one of the four U.S. geographic regions. The area is referred to as theMidwest throughout the United States.

      The region consists of 12 states in the north-central and north-eastern United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska,North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

    • hihat

      Um, since always. Great lakes states are a subset of the Midwest.


    • jay

      stay in school little man. if those states aren't in the mid-west then what would you call their geographical location? mid-central?

    • http://twitter.com/Xeneize480 Xeneize480

      Sprint is using Apple maps thats why they dont know hahaha


      serious? Great lakes is part of the midwest lol

  • http://twitter.com/And9123 Andrew

    The beginning of the end for us cellular is coming, time to find a new carrier

    • Geoff Johnson

      This will make US Cellular better in the northeast though

  • ConCal

    Just call me when I can get unlimited LTE where I live.

    • Cherokee4Life

      Just like Henry Ford said for the Model A "You can have it in any color you want... as long as its blue" :) so yeah move to Chicago

      Edit: P.S. don't really move here the LTE sucks. Sorry Sprint, I am lucky if I get over 4MB with LTE

      • http://twitter.com/GitMuny Ciroc Obama

        Not to bust chops here, but he said black not blue.

        • Cherokee4Life

          my fault you are correct. I got mixed up because mine is blue

          • DCMAKER

            you have a model a?

          • Cherokee4Life

            hey buddy (I changed my name for you)

            and yes I have a 1928 Model A (its blue), its a project car. Got it from my grandpa on my 18th birthday you should have seen it my senior year of high school, i drove it to school

          • DCMAKER

            lol never pay attention to those things.....senior year i thought there was a new girl in our class because i never seen her before until she was in my class senior year (think it was trig) (she was some red head chick i think....never learned her name :P) so i thought she was new. I made a statement about her being new and she looked at me and said...."I have been here since freshman year....I have been in your class before too." "I was like oh......well never notice -_-" was pretty damn funny. Hell I go out of my way to dodge people ahahha. I saw Rachael the Puerto Rican chick and her sister several times and i dodged her every time lol. Used my old blue hoody and used people as my shield for like the 2 hours when we were in the same area. my wife was like what are you doing? I told her i noticed someone i went to school with and was ghosting. She laughed and said i was dumb.

          • Cherokee4Life

            haha your ridiculous, where the hell do you run into Rachel?

          • DCMAKER

            it was at harvast in North Aurora? Her parents go there i think.

      • Mel Martin

        Lol I know u lyin bro. I'm on the westside and I get 27mb on lte. And I have a Gnex

  • Carlos Baldera

    I would just like some better 3g. Something comparable to the other carriers would be nice. All this LTE stuff is great, but some noticeable 3g improvement would be appreciated.

  • Freak4Dell

    Hey...now they'll finally be able to say they got a gain in customers.

    Well, unless the people leaving from Nextel and the people leaving from Sprint STILL outweigh these new customers, which is always possible.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      As I recall, those states had some pretty high subscriber numbers for US Cellular (I haven't looked in over a year though). I'm pretty sure Sprint will see a net gain after this. I wouldn't count on it being an OMG-worthy increase, but it won't be completely insignificant (to them).