Deal worth $480 million gives Sprint extra customers and spectrum for LTE; U.S. Cellular gets extra money for 4G deployment.
Sprint Nextel wants to buy Chicago and five other Midwestern markets from smaller rival U.S. Cellular for $480 million, adding to its customer base and spectrum holdings.
The carriers said Tuesday that Sprint is planning to buy markets in Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois and three other Midwest markets. The transaction will net Sprint approximately 585,000 customers -- or about 10% of U.S. Cellular's total subscriber base -- and 1900-MHz PCS spectrum.
Additional PCS spectrum could be particularly important for Sprint; the operator is currently using these radio frequencies to deploy its nascent 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. The operator currently has 32 of the new 4G markets deployed.