Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sprint to Acquire 20 MHz of Mid-West PCS Spectrum from U.S. Cellular

Sprint will acquire 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in the 1900 MHz band in various Midwest markets from  U.S. Cellular for $480 million in cash and certain liabilities.  The deal includes 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in 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.

Sprint said the additional spectrum will be used to supplement coverage in these areas as it continues to deploy its Network Vision upgrade and roll out 4G LTE nationally.

For U.S. Cellular, the transfer of 585,000 customers represents about 10% of its subscriber base. U.S. Cellular also announced that it will transition its Bolingbrook Customer Care Center operations to an existing vendor partner, effective Jan. 1, 2013.  The company said these moves lets it play to its strengths in markets where it has greater penetration.

“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.”

The companies expect to gain approvals from the Department of Justice and the FCC by mid-2013.

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