T-Mobile continues acquisition spree with $4.4 billion US Cellular mega-deal

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Widely viewed as a wireless industry underdog just a few years ago, T-Mobile transformed itself into a market leader and trendsetter incredibly quickly with a series of “Un-carrier” moves and marketing stunts, and perhaps more importantly, a 2020 merger with Sprint.

That allowed the 4G LTE laggard to become a 5G pioneer and champion… while unfortunately also giving Magenta the confidence (read arrogance) to make a number of highly controversial pricing changes without worrying too much that the dwindling competition could eat away at its subscriber figures.

Although nowhere near as massive as the aforementioned Sprint acquisition, T-Mo’s recently completed Mint Mobile takeover highlighted the operator’s ever-growing ambition, and now that same ambition is producing a new business deal likely to cause even more concern for those who feel US wireless competition is being stifled.

All for the good of “millions of customers” (or is it?)

What was just a rumor earlier this month is today officially materializing (at least in part), as T-Mobile appears to have defeated Verizon in yet another key battle, this time for “substantially all of US Cellular’s wireless operations.”

That includes a portfolio with “millions of customers” around the nation, an unnamed number of stores, as well as “certain specified spectrum assets”, which could help T-Mobile improve an already towering 5G network (as far as both coverage and speeds are concerned) even further.

If you’re a US Cellular user, T-Mo claims your network experience will get massively better soon, which is probably true. In terms of value, however, the “Un-carrier’s” lofty promises don’t exactly come at the most opportune time, with many of its longtime subscribers being hit by a predictable but still incredibly painful and frustrating price hike just last week.

Of course, US Cellular customers will (initially) be able to choose between retaining their current plans and switching to an unlimited T-Mobile option at no cost, but if history is any indication, that choice might be restricted with time and the non-existent costs could well… appear down the line.


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