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Sprint Buys U.S. Cellular Customers, Spectrum
$480 Million Deal Primarily Covers MidWest
by Karl Bode 04:46PM Wednesday Nov 07 2012 Tipped by swintec See Profile
Sprint today announced a deal to acquire several of U.S. Cellular's markets in the midwest. According to the Sprint press release, the company will pay U.S. Cellular $480 million in cash to obtain 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in the 1900 MHz band and about 585,000 customers, or roughly 10 percent of U.S. Cellular's total wireless subscriber base. The spectrum and customers are primarily centered in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio including the major markets of Chicago and St. Louis. While Sprint recently stated their SoftBank acquisition won't result in job losses, this little transaction will result in about 1,000 jobs being eliminated in the Chicago area as U.S. Cellular pulls out of that market.

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FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

US Cellular's way to pay for LTE expansion?

US Cellular just announced that they were expanding their LTE footprint. Maybe this is their way of paying for it.
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swintec
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Alfred, ME
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Re: US Cellular's way to pay for LTE expansion?

from what i read this wont include USCC towers and such so it really wont include better coverage for sprint users...but at least they get spectrum.
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Flummoxed
Premium
join:2002-01-24
Saint Peters, MO

Re: US Cellular's way to pay for LTE expansion?

Crap! lol as soon as I read the title I immediately that about how my Sprint signal up at Mark Twain Lake sucks, but US Cellular's is perfect.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
said by FFH:

US Cellular just announced that they were expanding their LTE footprint. Maybe this is their way of paying for it.

Stock market didn't like the US Cellular , Sprint deal. US Cellular dropped 12.4% today.
»www.thestreet.com/quote/USM.html···ers_NYSE
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ILpt4U
Premium
join:2006-11-12
Lisle, IL
kudos:9

White Sox Park

So if Sprint is buying the Chicago market, does that mean the Sox play at Sprint Field now?

jay608
Going Nucking Futs

join:2007-01-22
Chicago, IL

Re: White Sox Park

Doubt it.

JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL
said by ILpt4U:

So if Sprint is buying the Chicago market, does that mean the Sox play at Sprint Field now?

No the US Cellular FAQ specifically says Cellular Field stays as is.
From here: »www.uscellularinfo.com/USCC_FAQs.pdf
"What are you selling? What are you not selling?
U.S. Cellular is selling its Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois and three other Midwest markets to Sprint Nextel Corp. The sale includes PCS spectrum and 585,000 customers. We are not selling other spectrum we own in these markets (700 MHz licenses), corporate or field buildings located in these areas, or the naming rights to U.S. Cellular Field."

buddahbless

join:2005-03-21
Premium
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Re: White Sox Park

said by JimThePCGuy:

We are not selling other spectrum we own in these markets (700 MHz licenses), corporate or field buildings located in these areas, or the naming rights to U.S. Cellular Field."


I still dont care what they want to call it now as a native Chicagoan I still call it Comiskey Park, period !!!

while im on the subject screw big willie as well, Sears tower its what it is!

JackKane

@covad.net
The baseball field, that's a 20 year deal.

Way to give up on the entire Chicago and St. Louis market. If Sprint doesn't take over the towers and customers simply get shuffled off to regular Sprint service, that's the worst news in this regard. USCC has consistently had the highest rated service in the area (with only VZW coming in close), and this is a major blow to wireless reliability in Chicago. Feels like we're back in the 90s with this, where we get to choose between average, meh, and expensive.
melvin marti

join:2012-12-18
Chicago, IL

Re: White Sox Park

Lol bro are u kidding me. I'm in Chicago. Westside to be exact Austin area and sprint has unlimited lte in almost the whole city. U uscc guys should be thrilled u are finally gonna c some 4g with us because u would've never did with us cellular. I get 27mb DL speeds on my sprint Gnex another thing USC doesn't have might I add
Bob61571

join:2008-08-08
Washington, IL
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NO, the Sox will continue to play at US Cellular....

(I am a Sox fan) but, I am disappointed that USCC will sell my wife's account out to Sprint, from USCC.

We will NOT be using Sprint here...doesn't work well....
Wife is long time mobile user...Only Verizon and USCC work OK here in Peoria area....Everyone else stinks...
River valley has a lot to do with it.
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
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Re: NO, the Sox will continue to play at US Cellular....

Sprint will work in that area since the customers and the spectrum will be moved over to Sprint-Nextel. So your service should increase as far as coverages goes. And you can tell Sprint phones to roam onto other networks, but in some cases you must force roam them.

swintec
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Re: NO, the Sox will continue to play at US Cellular....

said by TBBroadband:

Sprint will work in that area since the customers and the spectrum will be moved over to Sprint-Nextel. So your service should increase as far as coverages goes. And you can tell Sprint phones to roam onto other networks, but in some cases you must force roam them.

they arent giving the towers and network to them though so im not sure how this will help actual sprint coverage.
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TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH

Re: NO, the Sox will continue to play at US Cellular....

the sounds of their press release and the way its worded sounds like they're taking over. Why else would Sprint be interested in taking those customers besides a little spectrum.

swintec
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Re: NO, the Sox will continue to play at US Cellular....

said by TBBroadband:

the sounds of their press release and the way its worded sounds like they're taking over. Why else would Sprint be interested in taking those customers besides a little spectrum.

Because the customers are worth something, plus the spectrum is very valuable for sprint especially in a spectrum starved market like Chicago. This may give them the ability to do 10x10 deployment for LTE in those markets instead of 5x5 like what they are doing.
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TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
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Re: NO, the Sox will continue to play at US Cellular....

Customers maybe worth something and I know how the market is in Chicago, but the fact is Sprint is going to want more than just a few customers and some Spectrum. With customers being dropped from USC to Sprint is NOT going to go over very well, especially when customers are going to be upset and will look else where.

And when you have a deal like this, the buying company, normally gets more than just the customers and a spectrum, they get the entire network in those markets. It seems like something is not being said.

swintec
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Re: NO, the Sox will continue to play at US Cellular....

said by TBBroadband:

It seems like something is not being said.

Possibly, who knows. The article says only spectrum and customers. A good thread for the technical aspects of it: »s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/2566-···om-uscc/
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swintec
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»seekingalpha.com/article/987591-···t=single

"So, first at closing Sprint will pay U.S. Cellular $480 million. As Mary mentioned the sale includes most of the PCS spectrum and 585,000 customers in our Chicago, St. Louis, Central Illinois, and Indiana, Michigan, Ohio markets. The sale also contemplates the number of related agreements, the most significant of which our two transition services agreements; one to cover network operations and the other customer services. Under which the terms will provide for U.S. Cellular to continue to operate the network and service and build customers for up to two years after the closing. Sprint will pay U.S. Cellular for these services. Sprint will also reimburse U.S. Cellular for certain cost related to decommissioning the network and employee termination benefits up to a defined cap. U.S. Cellular will be responsible for store closing cost including employee and termination benefits."
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GLIMMER

join:2004-01-17
Fisher, IL
peoria is not being sold just bloomington and champaign springfield decatur and such.

jhacker

join:2001-12-11
Peoria, IL
said by Bob61571:

(I am a Sox fan) but, I am disappointed that USCC will sell my wife's account out to Sprint, from USCC.

We will NOT be using Sprint here...doesn't work well....
Wife is long time mobile user...Only Verizon and USCC work OK here in Peoria area....Everyone else stinks...
River valley has a lot to do with it.

This is TERRIBLE news! Sprint's actual signal covers Peoria area fairly well, but their data service is HORRIBLE! I left Sprint for US Cellular in January because of this! I can't believe US Cellular would sell us out like this, after being in the market for 25 years. I WILL NOT BECOME A SPRINT CUSTOMER AGAIN! I guess we will just have to go back to Verizon.
GLIMMER

join:2004-01-17
Fisher, IL

Re: NO, the Sox will continue to play at US Cellular....

you wont you live in peoria which uscc is keeping
melvin marti

join:2012-12-18
Chicago, IL
Bro Google network vision and Illinois and come back and say that SMH. THIS IS NOT THE SAME SPRINT FROM YEARS AGO.

valuepac

@nai.com

USC

Looks like US Cellular is dumping areas that king street spectrum doesnt have 700mhz assets to add their LTE footprint. At least in Chicago I remember the spectrum US cellular uses was bought from an a company called primco (one of the first to offer unlimited wireless minutes for a reasonable flat rate)... There probably not enough to run LTE and CDMA at the sametime
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Getting ready to sell the rest to AT&T?

USCC's CLR and SMH holdings align very well with AT&T's. I wonder if they are getting ready to sell the rest to them, and did this to avoid regulatory headaches with Chicago, since AT&T owns the Chicago market, and giving them more customers and spectrum there would look really bad?

atuarre
Here come the drums
Premium
join:2004-02-14
Conroe, TX

Re: Getting ready to sell the rest to AT&T?

said by BiggA:

USCC's CLR and SMH holdings align very well with AT&T's. I wonder if they are getting ready to sell the rest to them, and did this to avoid regulatory headaches with Chicago, since AT&T owns the Chicago market, and giving them more customers and spectrum there would look really bad?

T doesn't need any more spectrum. They are already sitting on a large amount, along with Verizon Wireless
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Getting ready to sell the rest to AT&T?

They don't have CLR in a lot of markets, USCC has it. They are not sitting on spectrum, they are deploying it, and deploying it aggressively.
LineNoise

join:2006-06-25
Downers Grove, IL
Reviews:
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what in the hell

Why are they only buying the customers?

They're selling the customers and their spectrum, but keeping the network? I don't get it. What are they going to do with all their network assets? Why keep cell sites with no spectrum?

Sprint's network is fucking terrible here in Chicago at the moment... There are going to be some pissed off customers. USCC has some of the most loyal customers in the business. My wife has been with them since PrimeCO in 96... This is just weird.
kem09030

join:2004-11-29
Rushville, IL

Re: what in the hell

One big problem for Sprint is going to be the fact that they don't have a network in the areas a lot of the customers reside. I wonder if they have a deal with USCC to host some of the Sprint gear on the towers for a specified length of time. They could come up with a deal that is beneficial to both by pulling them into the network modernization project that Sprint is doing. We will just have to wait for more details to emerge. I have a feeling Sprint is about to move up in the USCC PRL.

I am a Sprint customer in Rushville, IL. I find the service in this area to be about the same as USCC on the main highways. Off the main highways it gets iffy. Once I get north of I80 everything seems to be covered decently. Some of that may be the phone I have which seems to pull signal in better than any other phone they have or had in the last few years (v950). Once Sprint starts deploying 800, signal quality should improve a lot.
LineNoise

join:2006-06-25
Downers Grove, IL
Reviews:
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Re: what in the hell

It's a catch 22. Sprint has signal everywhere north of 80, but you can't use it. South of 80 it's absolutely wonderful because there's no customers.

Sprint's network is going to be an RF engineering nightmare for another 5 years while they decom iDEN, deploy 800 voice then 800 LTE.

I wish my BlackBerry easily shows me which band I am using because I would bet that I rarely use 800Mhz in the Chicago Metro area. All the towers are spaced for 1900 around here because of capacity and 800 propagates so well it causes issues... AT&T pulled 800Mhz from all indoor DAS deployments because it was screwing with the outside so badly. They've got a handle on it now, but I would bet that 800 on Sprint becomes dedicated to either voice or LTE over time. Who knows what they'll do in the rural areas. They don't have enough 800 to exclusively deploy voice and date. I can't remember exactly how much they have, but isn't only 5Mhz? I'm searching on the FCC site and it's so slow.

Anyways, I have no idea why a company would sell it's customers and spectrum, and keep the useless equipment. I know they partnered with king street, but they don't even have licenses in Chicago for LTE.

Do you ever get the feeling like you're retarded and everyone else is just playing along? Because that sure is what the wireless industry is acting like these days.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Confused...

Is US Cellular simply no longer going to serve these markets or are they just selling customers and spectrum? Does that mean someone could buy a new phone and return to US Cellular?

That would be really odd.
LineNoise

join:2006-06-25
Downers Grove, IL

Re: Confused...

They'd roam on Sprint then because US Cellular wouldn't have any spectrum to put their towers back on the air...
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Confused...

They are selling all of their spectrum? I thought they were keeping their towers. Why keep a dark tower?

IowaMan
Premium
join:2008-08-21
Grinnell, IA

Just purchase it all already

I switched to Sprint from US Cellular because I wanted to have the iPhone. Verizon No and ATT can go straight to $#*%! So with this news, Why not sell the whole compony
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

Re: Just purchase it all already

They will never sell all unless a lot of money is put on the table.

linicx
Caveat Emptor
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United State
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I think it is good

A good signal depends upon the location of towers, quality of phone, and technology. USCC owns obscure rural Illinois locations such as Bath and Astoria. AT&T, and T-Mo were utterly useless in Astoria. Sprint and Verizon phones using CDMA roam on each others towers in most rural locations in Central Illinois But this may not be the case in towns larger than 100,000, or in Cities over 1,000,000 population. Plus Sprint and VZN may not share towers in the future. Verizon claims they own all the towers Sprint roams on - which is a lie. .

AT&T is not good in rural areas. Bell build out the Peoria area copper but nothing else. It did the same in Springfield. Rural central Illinois was left to carriers like GenTel, Cass, and CenTel to serve the little towns. Now that carriers like CenuryTel have switched to FIOS driven digital over copper in rural areas AT&T wants a piece of the action.

As AT&T has not been terribly generous in the past with rural for 100 years, or even particularly concerned about call quality, I don't know why it should be given any consideration today.
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clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
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I think people are misreading this!

Just because USCC isn't physically selling the "towers" to Sprint doesn't mean that they aren't getting the actual cell sites (antennas) and network equipment. "Towers" are very lucrative real estate, and no cellular provider actually owns all their towers.

In fact, most towers are actually owned by third parties that provide the maintenance and upkeep of the structures, and the cell providers just lease space on the tower for the antennas and space in the cabinet for the equipment. Sprint did this for a net gain to their network, not a net loss, so I would be actually shocked if they just dump a few hundred thousand subscribers on to the existing network.

I am willing to bet with a high level of certainty that the existing USCC PCS network will be integrated into Sprint's, even though they are just leasing space on the USCC owned "towers" for the antenna.

mikedz4

join:2003-04-14
Weirton, WV

will verizon buy the rest of us cellular

Will verizon buy the rest of us cellular? There are some areas in west virginia that us cellular covers and verizon doesn't and vice-versa. That would make sense to me since it would allow verizon to cover more areas in the state.