TMUS just made news because they are raising $2 billion from a secondary stock offering. The stated purpose of the proceeds is for spectrum purchase. They also stated that the funds are not for the upcoming auction, but for purchase of spectrum from a private source. What other private sources are there that would be willing to sell to TMUS?? Dish still said they are interested in TMUS, but why would TMUS have a second offering if Dish is close to acquiring them. I don't think the other three big boys (Vz, T or S) are willing to part with their vaunted spectrum. I can't think of anyone else but USM working a deal with TMUS. Also, look at the 4G coverage maps. I believe that USM will fill some holes existing in TMUS's upper midwest coverage. Okay peeps, shoot some holes in the theory....
Not sure - I don't have a sense of what spectrum USM has which it would consider unimportant to its current plan. With that said, in my opinion U.S. Cellular is done expanding its footprint through capital expenditures, but I could see them perhaps doing some like exchanges of assets (thereby avoiding capital gains taxes). For example, I don't buy the story that the N.Y. markets were converted to equity investments due to changes in Verizon's level of control. My guess is that it is a tax-related maneuver...maybe setting up for a swap of assets.
I suspect U.S. Cellular will do some kind of deal with Verizon, even if not an outright immediate sale. To me, the U.S. Cellular brand means litlle or nothing, so if they could do a deal which brands all of the U.S. Cellular markets as Verizon, swap the NY markets for some adjacent rural/semi-rural markets, and avoid taxes on capital gains which would occur in an outright sale, there could be some value unlocked while eventually moving toward an outright sale.
There is a lot of vague nonsense coming from U.S. Cellular about being in it for the long haul, but the reality of the industry suggests otherwise. Also, there are plenty of signs of movement which simply cannot be ignored - the Sprint deal, upcoming tower deal, the iphone, killing the dis-belief project, and even the billing disaster are all signs of serious change. No company the size of U.S. Cellular in its right mind would have taken on the Amdocs billing project unless it were in preparation for something bigger - lots of bla,bla,bla about it being customer service, and now the story is they needed it for the iphone. None of the stories meet the smell test - I think it was done to make its operation more compatible with a purchasers operations.
Whatever happens there is very serious value in U.S. Cellular, some of it not obvious. Look for a pop when they do a tower deal.
Do you think TMUS might be interested in purchasing USM? They are raising $2 billion in a second offering for spectrum. I don't know who has $2 billion in spectrum to sale to Tmus in a clean deal, other than USM. I don't think S would work a deal with Tmus to sell spectrum when they are in the M&A dance with each other. Dish is the same. At&T and Verizon would be the other two. But with the rate S has been losing customers, and Tmus is gaining subs, Tmus could shortly move into 3rd place in the USA market with a purchase of USM's 5 million subs.