Sprint announced on Friday that it has completed a deal to buy a portion of U.S. Cellular’s service in the Midwest. The $480 million deal grants Sprint additional wireless spectrum to increase its network capacity in several cities. Sprint gained 20MHz of PCS spectrum in Midwest markets including Chicago, South Bend, Ind., and Champaign, Ill, and 10MHz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis market.
Additionally, the deal means that 420,000 U.S. Cellular customers are being invited to transfer over to Sprint. Though customers will have to buy a new phone that is compatible with Sprint’s network, the company said it is offering discounts and incentives on its Sprint, Virgin, Boost, and payLo brands to make the transition easier.
The deal was originally expected to involve 585,000 U.S. Cellular customers, though some apparently jumped to other carriers ahead of the deal’s completion. For those customers who don’t want to make the switch, Sprint said there would be no early termination fee for moving to a new carrier.
Sprint’s press release said the transition period will last for several months, during which U.S. Cellular’s network will remain active and available to customers.