T-Mobile US plans to buy American cellular assets

T-Mobile US is rumored to be considering purchasing U.S. cellular spectrum licenses for more than $2 billion.

T-Mobile US is in talks to buy part of the US cellular network, a move that would give the telecom operator access to additional spectrum, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Other rumors indicate that T-Mobile US is considering parting with more than $2 billion for these assets and that the deal could close as soon as this month.

In August 2023, the boards of directors of USCELL and its majority shareholder Telephone and Data Systems (TDS) revealed that they were considering a partial sale of its assets. When this was announced, analysts at New Street Research speculated that T-Mobile could go after UScellular’s 600 MHz, PCS and AWS spectrum licenses and sell the spectrum it doesn’t use on its network, such as 700 MHz, to other suppliers.

UScellular also operates 4,500 cell towers in the United States; However, it is unlikely that T-Mobile would be interested in purchasing these infrastructure assets.

Last June, UScellular launched its mid-band 5G network in 10 states across the country. “We see mid-band as the sweet spot for 5G because it delivers wide coverage, low latency and fast speeds, allowing more people to connect to what matters most at home or on the go,” Mike Irizarry, executive vice president and CTO at UScellular, said at the time. “As we approach serving 100,000 high-speed Internet customers later this summer, midrange will play an important role in expanding the reach and improving this product. We’ve made it a priority to expand the technology to more communities in the coming years. The operator’s mid-band 5G network uses spectrum in the 3.45 GHz band that the company obtained in 2022.

UScellular published its latest quarterly results this week. Its fixed wireless access business continues to gain momentum, with the company reporting it added 124,000 FWA customers during the first quarter, up 42% from the same period last year. Overall, the company saw mixed results compared to the same period last year: service revenue declined 2%, postpaid ARPU increased 3% to $51.96, and while its overall operating revenue also declined from $986 million to $950 million year-over-year. , its reduction measures mean net profit increased to $18 million for the quarter, up from $13 million in the first quarter of 2023. More details on its first quarter can be found in this story.