US equity group moves on MVNO Consumer Cellular - Mobile World Live

US equity group moves on MVNO Consumer Cellular

28 OCT 2020

Private equity group GTCR moved to acquire US MVNO Consumer Cellular for an undisclosed amount, the latest in a series of recent deals for virtual operators in the country.

GTCR MD Stephen Jeschke told Mobile World Live (MWL) the move is consistent with the company’s history of investing in “recurring service revenue businesses”, adding “strong demographic tailwinds” are expected to deliver continued growth in Consumer Cellular’s target market of consumers aged 50 years old and over.

Consumer Cellular has approximately 4 million subscribers and 2,000 employees. It operates on AT&T and T-Mobile US’ networks.

Jeff Moore, principal analyst at Wave7 Research, told MWL the company is the third-largest MVNO in the US, behind Tracfone and former Sprint prepaid brand Boost Mobile, which was recently sold to Dish Network and now operates as an MVNO.

He added Consumer Cellular is “the poster child for MVNO success”, securing its position through its focus on older consumers.

The transaction is expected to close in the current quarter, with Consumer Cellular founder and CEO John Marick set to retire and be replaced by experienced mobile executive Ed Evans upon completion. GTCR stated Marick will remain a “substantial shareholder” and member of Consumer Cellular’s board.

Marick told OregonLive a $2.3 billion price reported by LightReading was not “quite right”.

GTCR’s move follows Verizon’s $6.25 billion play for Tracfone in September and the sale of Ting Mobile to Dish Network in August.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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