T-Mobile US reportedly conducted discussions to buy a piece of UScellular, which would give it access to valuable spectrum if a deal is reached.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported T-Mobile, the US’ second largest operator, is willing to pay more than $2 billion for some of UScellular’s assets in a deal that could close this month.

The boards of both UScellular and majority shareholder Telephone and Data Systems (TDS) announced in August 2023 they are considering the partial sale of some of the mobile operator’s assets.

A representative from UScellular declined to comment to Mobile World Live.

It is the fourth-largest mobile operator in the US with mobile services across 21 US states. As of Q2, UScellular has 4.5 million wireless subscribers.

The company also operates 4,500 towers across 19 states in its footprint, but those assets are likely less valuable to T-Mobile than its spectrum.

In June 2023, the mobile operator announced the launch of its 5G mid-band network using the 3.45GHz spectrum it won in a Federal Communications Commission auction in 2021.

UScellular president and CEO Laurent Therivel stated on the Q2 earnings call it expects to have mid-band on cell sites that handle almost 50 per cent of its data traffic by year end. He also noted it is seeing higher net promotor scores in the areas where it has been deployed.