Sprint announced today that it will acquire PCS spectrum and customers from U.S. Cellular for $480 million. Parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and the Chicago and St. Louis markets are all part of the deal. Sprint stated that the new spectrum will be used to "supplement Sprint's coverage in these areas as it continues to deploy its Network Vision upgrade and roll out 4G LTE nationally."
“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.”
The agreement will provide Sprint with 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in the 1900 band in Chicago and other markets, and 10 MHz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis market. Sprint will also receive 585,000 current U.S. Cellular customers and will assume "certain liabilities" as a part of the sale.
Sprint last month announced a $767 million net loss for the third quarter 2012. Much of the reason for the loss, according to Sprint, is its massive program to upgrade its network and the expected shutdown of the Nextel platform. Sprint is currently the third largest U.S. wireless company by subscriber numbers, though T-Mobile pushed closer last month after its acquisition of MetroPCS.