PCS spectrum and 420,000 U.S. Cellular customers part of deal

Sprint has announced that it's closed a deal to purchase PCS spectrum and a large number of customers from U.S. Cellular in the Midwest. As part of the deal, Sprint gets its hands on 20MHz of PCS airwaves in " various Midwest markets including Chicago, South Bend, Ind., and Champaign, Ill.," and 10MHz in St. Louis. As part of the transaction, Sprint will also inherit around 420,000 U.S. Cellular customers. That transition, Sprint's press release reveals, will last "several months."

The customers affected by the purchase have already been informed, Sprint says, and it aims to offer them a smooth transition to its own network or one of its pre-paid brands, on a "similar or better" device at "little or no cost." The additional spectrum will help Sprint boost its network in these areas, as it looks to expand its 4G LTE coverage.

Source: Sprint


Reader comments

Sprint closes deal to buy spectrum and customers from U.S. Cellular in the Midwest


Was thinking similar, could this be a piece meal buy out of US Cellular? Buying them right out could be more of a financial reason then anything else. Since they're soon to be controled by Softbank, it really would be up to them.

It seems more like this deal was made in part too so US Cellular could sell Apple products to its remaining customer base.

It was really an odd scenario when we learned about it at work. US Cellular is pretty strong in the Mid-West and to just hand over Chicago to Sprint was ???

But, like you said. They do need a substantial amount of cash to bring Apple products into there lineup.

I have friends that have already dropped out of there contracts with US and have moved on. Just find it interesting.

Woo! I work in Champaign and have been thinking about trying Ting (I used to have Sprint), so this might make my decision easier since the extra spectrum should help, Sprint data used to be garbage in town...

Is there a list somewhere about which customers will be affected? Sprint is the only carrier in Nebraska that doesnt have 4G. Even US Cellular does so hopefully Sprint will be able to use the US Cellular bandwidth in Nebraska also.

Nebraska will be getting 4g with network vision upgrades. That work is suppose to start during the summer

Well, you are obviously someone with some inside information that I haven't heard. What else do you know and where did you hear it?

You should get something in the mail if your effected by the buyout. But I believe its only in Illinois Chicago market and suburbs.

Horrible, my mom uses US Cellular as it's the only carrier with coverage in her small town in central Illinois. The letter she got saying she was one of the customers that Sprint was buying out said they weren't taking over any towers. No other carrier comes close to US Cellular in price except T-Mobile and they have abysmal coverage in her area. I just set her up with an S3 on USC, now she doesn't want to pay $40 more a month for the same phone on Verizon which is next best. I see Sprint as the bad guy here.

How is sprint the bad guy here? If US cellular wants to dump customers as part of the deal that is not sprints fault

You do have a contract with that S3 right, Sprint has to honor her USC pricing. At least for the contract, and they will usually keep it till she needs a new phone.

Actually, Sprint isn't really "inheriting" any customers. All affected US Cellular customers are simply being released from their contracts. They are free to go to whichever carrier they choose. My friend is one of those affected. He's been asking everyone how their service is to decide where he's going.

What endless said above. All contracts were made complete for select USC customers. They are having them come over to Sprint and sign new agreements if they want too.

This is a way for Sprint to show that they added subscribers during the quarters investments and should make stock owners happier since this might be the 1st time they post a net gain in subs depending on how many come over.

It is a sad day for USC customers. Many will find Sprint's service (and customer service) to be many, many levels below USC with higher prices and less flexibility.

And, if Sprint is not taking over USC towers that will mean most USC customers will be forced to switch to Verizon to maintain the level of coverage they have now.

I always said USC was more a competitor to Verizon than Sprint, TMo, and ATT were in the Midwest. I have to imagine at some point USC will just be gobbled up by someone.

Quite happy about this. USCC wanted to charge me an absurd $500 to upgrade to an SGS3 after my contract was up a couple months ago. Not a great way to keep me as a customer. 3G speeds are quite dismal on my SGS2. No 4G for me cuz for some reason they decided not to put it the SGS2, although just about every other carrier did..Their service might be good and a little cheaper than the others but damn do they make some shitty decisions sometimes.

As a long time user of US Cell - I'm sad to see them go.

They never had the newest equipment first but their national coverage (and/or roaming agreements) were AWESOME. We always had great coverage in the Chicago area as well as when traveling. We were the only ones able to get cell and data connection (albeit spotty/week/slow) while in parts of Yellowstone Natl Park. Others were stunned when they saw us talking on our phone or checking email - while their phones of various carriers were dead.

I can't beleive Sprint isn't maintaining the US Cell network longer and forcing us to abandon our equipment within months. I have 5 phones on my family plan - two of which are 9 month old smart phones. As it looks now, they will be paperweights soon and that's generating MUCH anger amongst the acquired US Cell clients. Unless they offer swaps or HEAVY phone discounts I bet they'll lose a huge percentage of us when they shut our phones off.

I've already shopped around and so far Verizon looks to be the best fit for my needs (must have excellent natl coverage) and only moderate data usage. However I'm open to suggestions if others have good experience with their carrier.

I’m SAD to see US Cellular go; They were the best in local coverage, and a plan that fit our needs, not much data, average outgoing calls and FREE incoming calls. I 8 years with US Cellular I never had a single problem, but since the Buy-OUT, I have been losing calls, no signal and slow data, I have been calling in TECH SUPPORT, which now sounds different (Maybe it’s SRINTS People, it’s not the same people as before) and their answer is that they are FIXING an Antenna in my AREA for the LAST 3 WEEKS!!!!

Three weeks with No Service or Bad Service, that’s Impossible. SEEMS like SRINT wants to KICK US OUT!!!!

I got the letter US CELLULAR – SPRINT that I need to move to another Service Provider, and that my phones will not work on any other system. What …. My SMART Phones are NEW (3 phones), I just spend a lot on each phone when I renewed my 2 year contract 9 months ago, So now I need to buy new phones !!! any why do day want to charge me ERLY TERMINATION FEE if I don’t go to SPRINT, but sprint doesn’t have coverage in my AREA and they not have a similar plan to what I was paying , I would need to pay twice as much monthly with Sprint, plus my new phones !!! That is not fare!!!

Some People from my office moved to SRINT for a week, they were losing calls and No Service, in this AREA, so they canceled and now moved to Verizon …. BUT now “SPRINT” LOST their number!!! The Service is better at Verizon, but the bill doubled and they are still trying to get their number back!!! (They got business cards, old customers already know there original phone number, they can’t change or they will lose business).

If you have the “Believe Plan” you could change because there is NO Contract, but what happens with us if we have a contract? We are now loosing calls, have No Service and can’t change because we get charged early termination fee, and still need to buy new phones!!!!!!

I think it’s fair that if they don’t want to keep our plans at the original price, or if they have no service in our Area with the new SRINT Network to just let us go without paying FEE. (Is there a way to protect us as a Customer from that FEE, we are not the ones changing the Game Rules).

In our case the best fit is T-Mobile, we would still be paying a little more that with US Cellular, but not having US Cellular as an option, Verizon has good service but too pricey. What can we do…

I feel sorry for all the US Cellular customers who are "inherited" by Sprint. Hope they have an alternative carrier from which to choose.