Sprint buys US Cellular spectrum and half a million Midwest customers for $480 million

Sprint store (STOCK)

Sprint may soon be acquired by Softbank, but it's making some purchases of its own: it's just spent $480 million for spectrum and customers from regional carrier US Cellular. The deal, which is expected to close in mid-2013, will transfer 585,000 US Cellular subscribers in Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois, and three other Midwest markets to Sprint. It will also give Sprint 30MHz of spectrum in the 1900MHz band — that's one of the bands Sprint is using for its fledgling LTE network, which just expanded to the Chicago suburbs.

For now, US Cellular customers will remain on their carrier. If the purchase — which still needs to be approved by US regulators — proceeds as expected, they'll be given more information next year. On an FAQ page, US Cellular said it was selling the markets in part because "we aren’t reaching the rate of profitable customer growth we need to justify continuing to make investments." Given that the sale amounts to around 10 percent of its total subscriber base, we wonder if bigger changes are on the way.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.