dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
Cincinnati Bell Sells Wireless Division, Spectrum to Verizon
by Karl Bode 02:38PM Monday Apr 07 2014 Tipped by dcurrey See Profile
Cincinnati Bell has announced that the company will be selling its wireless business and PCS, AWS and 700 MHz spectrum to Verizon in a deal worth $210 million. According to a press release, closing of the deal is expected sometime in the second half of the year. Cincinnati Bell will continue to own and operate the company's fixed line and fiber "FiOptics" TV and broadband products.

"We appreciate the loyal support from our Cincinnati Bell Wireless customers over the last sixteen years, and we remain committed to providing them with wireless service and support throughout the transition period,” said Cincinnati Bell CEO Ted Torbeck in a statement.

view:
topics flat nest 
SunnyD

join:2009-03-20
Madison, AL

Wireless is a Cash Cow*

*For incumbents only.

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

said by SunnyD:

*For incumbents only.

Cincinnati Bell is about as incumbent to the telephone business as you can get and 16 years in wireless is several generations.
This is more about the end of limited local players, needing the size and footprint to compete nationwide.
You can be sure Cincinnati Bell got plenty of money for the spectrum and whatever customers who will stick through the transition.
Trogdor9000

join:2005-07-12
Amelia, OH

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

I live in Cincinnati and I am surprised it went to Verizon.

Cincy Bell has no LTE, is all GSM based and has had roaming contracts with both ATT and T-Mobile over the years. They have never released a CDMA phone either.

I am glad they are keeping their fixed line. They are doing awesome at it. I have 50/10 and I sometimes get bursts of almost 90 mbps download

Mr Guy

@charter.com

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

said by Trogdor9000:

I live in Cincinnati and I am surprised it went to Verizon.

Cincy Bell has no LTE, is all GSM based and has had roaming contracts with both ATT and T-Mobile over the years. They have never released a CDMA phone either.

They are selling their spectrum to Verizon. And their spectrum fits in nicely with what Verizon already has in that area. Doesn't matter what it's being used for now. Verizon current 700 MHz spectrum used to be used for TV until 5 years ago.
Trogdor9000

join:2005-07-12
Amelia, OH

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

But I am saying the pain it is to switch customers over to CDMA. It might be a small enough pool of people that it wont be too bad

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

Within a year or so most phones will handle CDMA or GSM and all will use sims so they can build the LTE network and transition people later on

Mr Guy

@charter.com
said by Trogdor9000:

But I am saying the pain it is to switch customers over to CDMA. It might be a small enough pool of people that it wont be too bad

Verizon is moving away from CDMA anyway. They will be selling phones without CDMA radios within a year and they will be starting their VoLTE service by the end of this year. Verizon plans to be CDMA free no later than the end of 2020 anyway. Probably sooner.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Exactly. The phone swap-out cost is minimal compared to the value of the spectrum. People upgrade anyways, so in a year or two, they can switch that spectrum over to LTE.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

a year or two? It may take longer than that. You still have to get those to upgrade, and this approved, etc. It will take a year to get everything in order to move those customers over to the VZW billing system.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

After it's approved.

Mr Guy

@charter.com
said by SunnyD:

*For incumbents only.

so?
SunnyD

join:2009-03-20
Madison, AL

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

said by Mr Guy :

said by SunnyD:

*For incumbents only.

so?

So don't expect any competition to help control or bring down prices any time soon, if ever.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

I think it could, just not in this case.

The problem for Cincinnati Bell is that they're a carrier with a very small footprint, which means that, if a customer left the metro area, they'd be roaming. At that point, the company has two choices: charge the customer for roaming or not charge them and absorb the cost. Since most people expect their plans to include nationwide roaming, that rules out the first option. So that means the company has to eat those roaming charges or hide them in the overall bill, resulting in higher prices overall. Not a good prospect for a small company.

fel0nious

@spcsdns.net

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

Exactly, and this was crushing the profitability of the company as a whole. I stuck with them as long as possible and they continued to force users to swallow more and more costs to offset the roaming losses. It was really bad for families with kids off at college, because you had to maintain an 80/20 balance of in/out of network data usage, per line, or you were cut off. Personally I think T-mobile would've been a better suitor, competition wise, but I'm not sure if they could've pulled it off.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

Many carriers have that same 80/20 balance. TMO has it, Sprint has it, and I'm sure if you use VZW and roam more than 60% of the time you are in your "home" coverage they will do the same.

fel0nious

@rr.com

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

I don't doubt it, but with cbw it wasn't explicit roaming so much as implicit nationwide coverage through TMo and ATT. With the big nationwide carriers, it's not as common to be in a populated area and be roaming. But outside of the Cincy network, in a populated area, you were considered out of network (which was different than roaming), and all was well until you hit that split. I was just pointing out that it was untenable in a world where a growing number of customers do actually travel out of network.

Mr Guy

@charter.com
said by TBBroadband:

Many carriers have that same 80/20 balance. TMO has it, Sprint has it, and I'm sure if you use VZW and roam more than 60% of the time you are in your "home" coverage they will do the same.

Except since Verizon is pretty much everywhere you don't roam that much.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Wireless is a Cash Cow*

True, but it hasn't always been that way. Just maybe 7-10 years ago, there were still a decent number of places where you could be roaming. Remember, before Cingular got the old AT&T Wireless, they had no native coverage in NYC, and T-Mobile had no native coverage in California. And, until VZW bought out Unicel and ALLTEL, their coverage in Alabama and Mississippi was limited. In Alabama, if you were outside of a major metro area, you roamed on ALLTEL, and, in Mississippi, if you were just about anywhere but Jackson, you roamed on Cellular South.

Slowverse

join:2012-02-01
Mobile, AL

C Spire and US cellular

C Spire and US cellular won't be far behind. I look for T Mobile or Sprint to acquire both of them in the near future.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: C Spire and US cellular

Not sure who will eat up C Spire, but US Cellular will go to AT&T. They already dumped the Chicago market, which is the only major divestiture (plus Downeast Maine, but that's hardly a major market, and an easy divestiture to Verizon for spectrum, network, and subs). USCC's spectrum fits up perfectly with what AT&T doesn't have, and now that AT&T is running quad band LTE, and they promised to switch to Band 12 from 17 in their phones (although they haven't yet), they are the perfect match.
Os

join:2011-01-26
US

Re: C Spire and US cellular

US Cellular's network is compatible with Verizon and Sprint. I would consider them the frontrunners for it, especially Sprint who already took US Cellular's markets in Chicago and St. Louis.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: C Spire and US cellular

Sprint doesn't have ANY Cellular anywhere, so it makes no sense to buy a carrier with cellular. Plus, they are an urban/wholesale carrier which doesn't fit USCC's model.
Samsonian

join:2007-06-15

Re: C Spire and US cellular

Sprint's lack CLR 850 spectrum isn't due a lack of desire. They simply started later, and had to start with PCS 1900. US Cellular would fit in with Sprint easily, as their network technology is the same, their network footprint very complementary, and even the spectrum profile will converge.

Most Sprint devices support CDMA/EVDO in the CLR 850 for roaming anyway, so an OTA update allows handsets to work on each other's networks. Sprint has near nationwide SMR 800 spectrum, and they've designed LTE Band 26 to be a superset of their SMR 800 and CLR 850 bands. So those devices and networks will be inter-operable. Also Sprint is part of a roaming pact within the Competitive Carriers Association, and has started requesting device vendors to include Lower 700 MHz (Band 12) and likely AWS (Band 4) support for roaming purposes.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: C Spire and US cellular

Right. But now they have nationwide SMR by acquiring Nextel, and their network is all built on PCS, so it makes absolutely no sense to go in and buy a carrier that uses CLR. If you look at the spectrum, AT&T is the logical buyer for USCC. There have been a number of dissimilar-technology buyouts, and they seem to work just fine. Newer USCC phones should mostly or fully work on AT&T's network.
Samsonian

join:2007-06-15

Re: C Spire and US cellular

The SMR and CLR spectrum bands are directly adjacent to each other in the ~800 MHz range, and with LTE Band 26 they will be effectively consolidated. Sprint has already started deploying in this band.

The fact that their network was built out with tower density to support PCS 1900, means deploying in 800 MHz will be trivial by comparison, as they'd only need to use a subset of their towers to cover their existing footprint. You need ~4x the base stations to cover the same area with PCS 1900 or AWS 1700/2100, as you do 700/800 MHz spectrum (and ~10x the base stations to cover 2600 MHz)

AT&T buying US Cellular would be a lot more work. I can see it happening given the value of spectrum alone, as that seems to be the driving force now. But I'd rather see Sprint acquire them to bolster their rural coverage and improve the competitive landscape, than the Death Star gobbling up another smaller carrier.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: C Spire and US cellular

If you look at the spectrum, AT&T is the only logical buyer. Sprint doesn't operate in that band, they don't operate in those types of markets, it just doesn't make sense. USCC screwed up though. They should have sold out before AT&T got 70 licenses over some of the markets where USCC and Verizon own CLR, like New Hampshire, as they would have been worth the most at that point, with AT&T only having PCS in those markets...
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Also, suggesting Verizon would take them over is rather idiotic. They would have to divest almost every market so that they didn't end up with both sides of CLR and virtually all the customers (since customers follow whoever has the coverage, which follows whoever has the CLR spectrum).

swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS
said by BiggA:

Not sure who will eat up C Spire, but US Cellular will go to AT&T. They already dumped the Chicago market, which is the only major divestiture (plus Downeast Maine, but that's hardly a major market, and an easy divestiture to Verizon for spectrum, network, and subs).

Chicago went to sprint. Where was it said that USC sold out downeast maine? Maine is one of their better markets, doesnt make sense they would piece it apart like that.

USC and Sprint are very cozy with each other. LTE roaming between the two and other smaller carriers is very close.

A sprint take over of USC would be fantastic (if only for the beefed up rural coverage in USC markets) and is really the best option for them I think.
--
Usenet Block Accounts | Unlimited Accounts
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: C Spire and US cellular

I was saying when AT&T acquires USCC, Downeast Maine has to go, as it overlaps with AT&T's CLR. The rest fits in with AT&T's spectrum and markets.
juicem2

join:2006-03-05
Mastic Beach, NY

Good expansion

To bad Verizon has no interest in expanding Fios. They could have bought out the wire line business and converted the fiber optic TV to Fios.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: Good expansion

Cinci Bell is NOT going to sell their wireline business. They make a killing on it and they know it. Plus their the own "bell" left that wasn't part of MaBell and the only ILEC that actually owns an HFC network as well.

•••