T-Mobile to buy US Cellular wireless operations in $4.4bn deal

Bengaluru — T-Mobile will buy almost all of regional carrier US Cellular’s wireless operations including customers, stores and 30% of its spectrum assets in a deal valued at $4.4bn, the telecom giant says.

US Cellular’s shares jumped more than 10% in trading before the bell and comes nearly 10 months after the company said it was exploring strategic options.

US Cellular will retain ownership of about 70% of its spectrum, its equity-method investments as well as 4,400 telecom towers. It said T-Mobile would become a long-term tenant on at least at least 2,600 towers.

T-Mobile, which eyes improved coverage for its customers, will fund the deal in a combination of cash and up to $2bn of debt to be assumed through an exchange offer to be made to some of US Cellular’s debt holders.

T-Mobile does not expect any impact on its financial forecast or shareholder return programme for 2024. It expects an yield of about $1bn in operating expense and capital spending cost synergies.

The deal was expected to close in mid-2025 after regulatory approvals, and shareholders were not expected to act on this deal, US Cellular said. It added that Telephone and Data Systems, which is a 83% shareholder of the regional carrier, had provided written consent approving the deal.

Verizon was in talks to also buy parts of the regional carrier, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.


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