December 3, 2014 — NTELOS Holdings, which provides the cellular network for Sprint in rural West Virginia and western Virginia, is selling its 1900 MHz PCS wireless spectrum licenses covering eastern Virginia to T-Mobile for $56 million as part of a change in its strategic focus that includes more LTE network build outs. NTELOS is also exploring the sale of cell towers and undeployed spectrum.
For NTELOS, the eastern markets have become more competitive and less profitable. Winding down operations in the eastern markets, which include Hampton Roads/Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia, will take 12 months and cost the carrier $55 million.
NTELOS plans to focus exclusively on its western markets to take advantage of its retail presence and strategic network alliance with Sprint, which will include an expansion of LTE service.
“The initiatives we announced today improve the strategic coherence of our business as well as enhance our ability to seek opportunities to leverage our strategic assets as we build out our 4G LTE network,” said Michael Huber, chairman, NTELOS Holdings, in a prepared release. “Focusing on our western markets, where we benefit from a strong branded retail presence and access to multi-band spectrum in the SNA territory, will allow us to make additional investments to improve the experience of our customers.”
Through the Strategic Network Alliance (SNA), Sprint customers have access to NTELOS’s LTE network and NTELOS has access to Sprint’s 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum. Earlier this year, NTELOS committed to expanding and building its LTE network in the SNA territory to specifications aligned with Sprint’s network modernization program.
J. Sharpe Smith is the editor of AGL Link and AGL Small Cell Link newsletters.