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T-Mobile to acquire U.S. Cellular in $4 billion deal

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert speaks during a T-Mobile and SpaceX joint event, Aug. 25, 2022, in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. (Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — T-Mobile, one of the nation’s largest wireless providers, announced on Tuesday that it will acquire most of U.S. Cellular in a $4.4 billion deal.

The agreement would grant T-Mobile an additional four million customers, hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores and wider reach in rural areas. The move would also expand T-Mobile’s spectrum rights, a valuable federal license that allows firms to transmit mobile signals.

The deal is expected to close in the middle of next year, T-Mobile said.

“As customers from both companies will get more coverage and more capacity from our combined footprint, our competitors will be forced to keep up — and even more consumers will benefit,” Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile, said in a statement.

After the agreement, U.S. Cellular will retain some of its spectrum rights and cellular towers, T-Mobile said.

The acquisition will provide customers with a more competitive alternative to the nation’s two largest wireless carriers: AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile said.

“By tapping into the additional capacity and coverage created through the combined spectrum and wireless assets, T-Mobile will spur competition,” T-Mobile said in a statement.

For years, T-Mobile has pursued high-profile acquisitions as a means of accelerating growth.

In 2012, T-Mobile merged with Metro PCS, increasing T-Mobile’s customer base by roughly one third. In 2020, T-Mobile acquired Sprint in a $26.5 billion deal, which at the time combined the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers.

“The integrations of MetroPCS in 2013 and Sprint in 2020 have been noted as two of the most successful merger combinations in wireless history that resulted in competition-enhancing shifts benefiting millions of consumers,” T-Mobile said.

Customers currently with U.S. Cellular will automatically become customers of T-Mobile once the agreement is finalized, the statement said.

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