Today, wireless carrier Sprint announced plans to purchase PCS spectrum and customers from US Cellular in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio for $480 million (€374.7 million) in cash.The deal includes the Chicago and St. Louis markets and was signed as part of Sprint’s Network Vision upgrade and roll out 4G LTE nationally.
According to the wireless carrier, it will use the additional spectrum to supplement its network coverage in these areas.
“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,” Hesse continued.
The agreement includes the purchase of 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in the 1,900 MHz bands in a series of Midwest markets including Chicago, South Bend, Ind. and Champaign, Ill., as well as the acquisition of 10 MHz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis market.
Furthermore, the deal involves moving approximately 585,000 U.S. Cellular customers to Sprint’s network. As soon as the transaction is closed, US Cellular will continue to operate outside these markets.
Although the two carriers have already agreed on the terms of the deal, the transaction is still subject to regulatory approvals by the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. The two companies are looking to close the deal in mid-2013.
The accounts and service of U.S. Cellular customers in the aforementioned markets will remain the same until the deal is final. Sprint will offer more info on its transition plans as soon as the transaction has been finalized.