UScellular hints at high price for C-Band - Mobile World Live

UScellular hints at high price for C-Band

22 FEB 2021

A footnote in UScellular’s Q4 2020 earnings presentation sparked speculation about its spending in a US sale of C-Band spectrum (3.7GHz to 4.2GHz).

The note stated the operator committed to purchase unspecified spectrum licences for $1.46 billion. Though UScellular executives declined to elaborate during an earnings call, Wells Fargo Securities analysts noted it was “likely that the vast majority (if not all) of that spending was related” to the record-breaking C-Band auction.

An announcement on winning bidders is imminent after the final phase of the process completed on 17 February.

On an earnings call, CFO Doug Chambers highlighted a 30 per cent decrease in store traffic during Q4 and a $9 million year-on-year drop in roaming revenue to $33 million, which he attributed to T-Mobile US’ migration of Sprint traffic to its network.

He said headwinds from the transition are expected to continue this year, noting Sprint still accounted for approximately 20 per cent of UScellular’s roaming revenue.

“We don’t expect all that to go away. Some is transitioning over to T-Mobile’s network, other will be subject to roaming agreements we have with them as a carrier.”

Net profit fell from $18 million in Q4 2019 to $5 million, on revenue of $1.1 billion, up 2 per cent.

It added 3,000 subscribers compared with a loss of 15,000 in Q4 2019.

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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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