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Sprint buys U.S. Cellular business and customers in select Midwest markets

News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday November 07, 2012.

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U.S. Cellular today announced that it has agreed to sell its spectrum and approximately 585,000 customer contracts in five Midwest markets to Sprint. The $480 million sale will transfer PCS spectrum in Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois, and three other unnamed markets. It will also transfer contracts for what amounts to about 10 percent of U.S. Cellular's total customer base to Sprint.

U.S. Cellular will continue to own the rights to about 560 towers in the affected markets, but it will otherwise cease doing business in the areas in which it sells operations to Sprint. CEO Mary N. Dillon says that exiting the affected markets will allow the carrier to focus on areas where it has been more effective in attracting customers. The sale leaves the company with 5.2 million customers, and it plans to refocus energy on growing that number in more lucrative areas. During a transitional period, U.S. Cellular will keep some retail stores open and work with Sprint to ease the switch, but it will eventually shut down all carrier-owned stores and layoff the majority of retail workers in the affected markets.

The transaction is subject to approval from the FCC and is expected to close by mid-2013. The deal will affect only U.S. Cellular customers in designated markets; the carrier will continuing operating independently in all other areas.

source: Sprint

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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