C Spire Wireless recently purchased PCS spectrum from Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), an indication that it continues to beef up its coverage in its core markets even as regional wireless carriers continue to fade from the industry.
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing from Leap, on June 4 Leap struck a deal with C Spire to sell its 10 MHz PCS wireless license in Biloxi, Miss., for $6 million to C Spire. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the consent of the FCC.
Although the transaction is relatively small in the world of spectrum deals (for example, T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) said in June it will buy 10 MHz of AWS spectrum from U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM) for $308 million in cash), it is an indication that C Spire is not giving up on improving its spectrum position even as smaller carriers are being acquired. AT&T announced plans late last month to purchase the wireless assets and customers of Iowa-based Long Lines, following its announcement that it would purchase Leap in a $1.2 billion deal.
In the wake of AT&T's proposed acquisition of Leap, privately held C Spire strongly indicated that it is worried about further industry consolidation. "Our company has successfully operated in the wireless business since 1988 as a privately-held wireless provider," C Spire spokesman Dave Miller told FierceWireless in July. "We welcomed many new companies to the industry in the 1990's and we're disturbed by the current trend of smaller operators being acquired. Our industry needs more competition, not more consolidation, and C Spire intends to continue aggressively competing as an independent company."
C Spire said in May it will expand its LTE coverage area in Mississippi later this summer and also will launch LTE in parts of Alabama and Florida by year-end. The company said that beginning this month it will expand LTE in Mississippi. The new expansion covers 71 cities and 51 counties in the state. C Spire also recently launched new unlimited plans for individual customers and focused on the option to let customers buy "online video passes" to watch streaming video from their devices when they want to do so.
- see this SEC filing
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