Sprint to Purchase Spectrum, Customers from U.S. Cellular
Sprint today announced that it plans to purchase 1900MHz spectrum licenses and about 585,000 customers from U.S. Cellular. The spectrum licenses will give Sprint an additional 20MHz slice of PCS coverage in Chicago and Champaign, Ill.; South Bend, Ind.; and select areas of Michigan and Ohio. Sprint will gain a 10MHz sliver of PCS spectrum in St. Louis. The customer acquisitions in those markets represents about 10% of U.S. Cellular's entire subscriber base. The transaction is valued at $480 million. Sprint is in the middle of selling a 70% stake of itself to Japan's Softbank for $20.1 billion. Both deals are subject to regulatory approval and aren't expected to close until 2013. Sprint said that U.S. Cellular customers in the affected markets will see no change in their service until the deal is finalized, at which time it will provide more information.