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Replying to:  Buyout/Merger????? by panasonic   Apr 10, 2012, 1:35 PM

Re: Buyout/Merger?????

by LocalMan    Jun 29, 2012, 8:59 AM

I'm not sure i agree completely with your assessment of US Cellular's Troubles. Obviously they are loosing postpaid customers, per their financials, but they have seen revenue increasing the past two quarters compared to a year ago, and their ARPU increased sharply over the past 5 reported quarters. It seems to me that many of the changes often criticized (increased sales pressure, commissions restructure, etc) would logically translate into flat to modest growth on the balance sheet even while loosing customers. Thus, bad for retail wireless consultants, but good for the company.

Device limitations are certainly there, but on the iPhone topic, USC and parent TDS have been very transparent about pricing concerns, and technology limitations (3g is not the future, LTE is). I think no iPhone is a very wise business decision. One must also recognize the target demographics of this company. The way i see it, they are not targeting young, device hungry, rapid upgrade type customers. They seem to be catering to older, family type demographics. These demographics fit well with a middle of the road device lineup. I think though, they do recognize that this strategy may not work forever, as they have been aggressive with the galaxy SIII, expecting to get that phone within weeks of the big guys instead of months later.

But to the topic of Buyouts, The company, and the Carlson family who controls 80%+ of USC, and thus controls USC, makes the calls on mergers and acquisitions. They have been very conservative in the past. I would assume if USC is making money, they are unlikely to sell out.

I don't think ATT or VZ are likely to want what USC has to offer. VZ has divested in areas where USC operates to limit their rural coverage. Sprint is to cash strapped due to their iPhone deal to make a move here, not that it would be strategically sound anyway. DT has been trying to sell T-Mobile. I don't think they are looking to merge with a smaller carrier. That puts us in the second tier for consolidation. MetroPCS and USC merger? USC and Cricket Merger? Not quite as exciting...

I think USC is a strong niche provider that, with the backing of their parent company, will probably continue to milk all that they can from what they've got.

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