T-Mobile set to acquire UScellular wireless operations in $4.4 billion deal

T-Mobile and UScellular have announced that T-Mobile has agreed to acquire substantially all of UScellular’s wireless operations, including UScellular’s wireless customers and stores, as well as certain specified spectrum assets.

The transaction was announced May 28.

Upon closing, T-Mobile’s 5G wireless network will expand to provide millions of UScellular customers, particularly those in underserved rural areas, officials said in a release.

UScellular customers will also have the ability to fully participate in T-Mobile’s wireless plans. In return, T-Mobile customers will get access to UScellular’s network in areas that previously had limited coverage, along with the benefit of enhanced performance throughout UScellular’s footprint.

“With this deal (we) can extend the superior Un-carrier value and experiences that we’re famous for to millions of UScellular customers and deliver them lower-priced, value-packed plans and better connectivity on our best-in-class nationwide 5G network,” said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. “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. The Un-carrier is all about shaking up wireless for the good of consumers and this deal is another way for us to continue doing even more of that.”

“T-Mobile’s purchase and integration of UScellular’s wireless operations will provide best-in-class connectivity to rural Americans through enhanced nationwide coverage and service offerings at more compelling price points,” said UScellular CEO Laurent Therivel. “The transaction provides our customers access to better coverage and speeds, as well as unlimited texting in more than 215 countries, content offers, device upgrades and other T-Mobile benefits.”

UScellular customers will have the option to stay on their current plans or move to an unlimited T-Mobile plan of their choosing with no switching costs, including T-Mobile benefits such as streaming and free international data roaming. Some will also have access to plans with increased savings previously not available to them, including T-Mobile’s 5G Unlimited 55+ plans.

T-Mobile officials said the transaction will create a choice for wireless in areas with “expensive and limited” plans from AT&T and Verizon, and for those that have been limited to one or no options for home broadband connectivity.

By tapping into the additional capacity and coverage created through the combined spectrum and wireless assets, T-Mobile will spur competition and expand its home broadband offering and fixed wireless products to communities without competitive broadband options, further bridging the digital divide for hundreds of thousands of customers in UScellular’s footprint.

T-Mobile has a history of industry acquisitions, purchasing MetroPCS in 2013 and Sprint in 2020.

T-Mobile will pay approximately $4.4 billion for the assets being acquired from UScellular in the transaction in a combination of cash and up to $2 billion of debt to be assumed by T-Mobile through an exchange offer to be made to certain UScellular debtholders prior to closing.

Following the closing of the transaction, UScellular will retain ownership of its other spectrum as well as its towers, with T-Mobile entering into a long-term arrangement to lease space on at least 2,100 additional towers being retained.

The transaction, which is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and receipt of certain regulatory approvals, is expected to close in mid-2025.

UScellular is the fourth -largest wireless carrier in the United States, with 4,656,000 subscribers in 426 markets in 21 states as of the second quarter of 2023. T-Mobile is the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier, with 117.9 million subscribers as of Dec. 31, 2023.