Verizon broadens rural reach with Bluegrass deal - Mobile World Live

Verizon broadens rural reach with Bluegrass deal

19 OCT 2020

Verizon inked a deal to acquire customers and shops from regional US operator Bluegrass Cellular, moving to expand its presence in rural Kentucky.

An operator representative told Mobile World Live (MWL) the deal includes the transfer of 210,000 subscribers, 17 stores, network assets, and Bluegrass Cellular’s 600MHz, 700MHz and PCS spectrum.

The move will allow Verizon to rapidly expand distribution across 34 rural counties in Kentucky where it currently has no retail presence, the representative explained.

Bluegrass Cellular president Ron Smith stated he was “confident” Verizon would serve customers well, providing “crucial and reliable wireless connectivity to our rural communities”.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in early 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

The acquisition is Verizon’s second in as many months: it announced a $6.25 billion deal to purchase prepaid MVNO Tracfone from America Movil in September.

Cashing out
Recon Analytics founder and lead analyst Roger Entner told MWL the deal comes at a time when smaller operators are re-evaluating their business goals as an expensive 5G transition looms, noting many regional players are “thinly manned” and “don’t have the money and resources” for the move.

He added such decisions are often personal for the owners of regional operators, many of whom have reached retirement age and don’t have an internal successor lined up.

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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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