T-Mobile Acquires US Cellular's Wireless Operations for $4.4 Billion

US Cellular and TDS have announced the sale of US Cellular's wireless operations and select spectrum assets to T-Mobile for approximately $4.4 billion in cash and assumed debt. T-Mobile will acquire US Cellular's wireless operations and approximately 30% of spectrum assets across several spectrum bands, as well as enter into a new master license agreement on more than 2,000 towers.

Following the transaction, US Cellular will retain its nearly 4,400 owned towers, its equity method investments, and approximately 70% of spectrum assets across several spectrum bands. Additionally, T-Mobile will become a long-term tenant on at least 2,600 of US Cellular's towers.

The agreement aims to provide US Cellular customers with lower prices, faster speeds, and more reliable performance on T-Mobile's nationwide 5G network, with a commitment to serving rural Americans.

US Cellular's Chairman of the Board of Directors, Leroy T. Carlson, Jr., stated that the transaction will ensure customers have access to the level of service they deserve, while Laurent Therivel, CEO of US Cellular, expressed commitment to serving the needs of customers and supporting associates as they work to complete the transaction.

T-Mobile's CEO, Mike Sievert, highlighted that the deal will bring millions of US Cellular customers lower prices and the un-carrier’s superior value on their nationwide 5G network, offering more choice and competition across the wireless industry.

In connection with the agreement, T-Mobile will enter into a new long-term MLA on a minimum of 2,015 incremental towers owned by US Cellular and extend the lease term for approximately 600 towers where T-Mobile is already a tenant. This will ensure continued, uninterrupted service for US Cellular customers following the transaction and create a long-term contracted revenue stream from a strong anchor tenant for at least 15 years after the close of the transaction.

US Cellular retains approximately 70% of its spectrum portfolio across several spectrum bands and will seek to opportunistically monetize these retained assets. The company also retains significant equity method investment interests, primarily from its wireless partnerships, that generated $158 million of equity method income and $150 million in distributions in 2023.

The transaction is expected to close in mid-2025, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Additionally, US Cellular anticipates being in a position to return capital to shareholders after the close of the transaction, with any decisions regarding capital allocation or use of proceeds to be made by the US Cellular board of directors in due course. Today the company's shares have moved 8.8% to a price of $46.77. For more information, read the company's full 8-K submission here.

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