Shentel said it would pay Sprint $60 million to expand its affiliate service territory. The move essentially will give Shentel access to roughly 1.1 million potential customers in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and elsewhere.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Shentel said it would make a one-time payment of $60 million to Sprint for the right to expand its service area, and an additional $5 million for “certain equipment at the Sprint cell sites in the Expansion Area.”
With its latest expansion, Shentel will gain access to over 7 million POPs in the region as a Sprint affiliate. “Shentel will have the right to serve the expanded affiliate service territory and will acquire approximately 105 cell sites, with approximately 67 thousand Sprint postpaid and prepaid subscribers in the expansion area becoming Sprint branded affiliate customers managed by Shentel,” the company said in a release. “Shentel has committed to spend approximately $56 million over the next three years to expand and improve coverage in the expanded affiliate service territory.”
"This expansion will create additional value for our shareholders and allows Shentel to build networks that will improve coverage between our current service areas and Sprint's metro networks, providing an enhanced experience for both Sprint and Sprint customers managed by Shentel,” Shentel CEO Christopher French said in a statement.
Shentel’s latest move comes less than a year after the company announced an initial expansion of its agreement with Sprint to add roughly 500,000 POPs to its footprint. That move increased Shentel’s presence to more than 6 million POPs and included 20,000 Sprint and nTelos postpaid and prepaid customers who became Sprint-branded affiliate customers managed by Shentel.
Shentel, which is based in Virginia, closed on its $640 million acquisition of fellow Sprint wholesaler nTelos in 2016. That move more than doubled the size of Shentel's customer base to more than 1 million.
Shentel is now the nation’s seventh largest wireless network operator with roughly 1 million wireless customers as of November.