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Sprint buys Revol's PCS spectrum licenses in Ohio as Revol winds down

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Regional wireless carrier Revol Wireless is selling 12 PCS spectrum licenses in the Ohio area to Sprint (NYSE:S). The transaction appears to be part of a wider effort by Revol to shore up its struggling business.

According to FCC documents, Sprint is buying the licenses to bolster the capacity of its network in the region. Sprint didn't say what type of network technology it would deploy on the 1900 MHz licenses, but the carrier likely will use the radio waves to expand the reach of its growing LTE network, which will eventually work across Sprint's 1900 MHz, 800 MHz and 2.5 GHz licenses.

Sprint spokesman John Taylor described the transaction as "small" and said Sprint will gain roughly 10-15 MHz per market in areas across Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Toledo and elsewhere. Taylor declined to provide financial details of the transaction. The FCC must approve the spectrum license transfer from Revol to Sprint.

It's unclear exactly what the move means for Revol. According to the FCC's spectrum database, Revol is transferring all of its spectrum licenses to Sprint. Further, Revol noted that "current customers are not part of the business transaction and will not be transitioned to Sprint," and ominously added that "unless CUI (Cleveland Unlimited Inc, the parent company of Revol) is otherwise able to transition all of its customers to another carrier, CUI plans to provide 30 days' notice to all non-transitioned customers in advance of any termination of service."

The news comes shortly after Revol confirmed to Crain's Cleveland Business that it has shut down around half of its stores in the Cleveland, Columbus and Indianapolis areas. The company said it now owns around 20 stores, down from a high of 40 during the middle of last year.

"It's a competitive environment," Revol CEO Timothy Yager told the publication. "I wish it was a little less competitive."

Multiple Revol representatives did not respond to questions from FierceWireless.

A person familiar with the matter said that Revol is working to wind down its operations and sell its customer base. That dovetails with the company's warnings in its FCC filing that it will terminate service if it is unable to transition its customers to another carrier.

Revol's creditors took over the regional carrier in 2011 when it was unable to make payments on $150 million in debt. At that time Revol's creditors brought in a new management, including Yager, to run the carrier.

For more:
- see this FCC filing (PDF)
- see this FCC announcement
- see this Crain's Cleveland Business article

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