|U.S. Cellular leaving Chicago market|
|Written by Daniel Fox, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Wednesday, 14 November 2012 17:40|
Despite U.S. Cellular selling markets from Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois and three other locations in the Midwest to subsidiaries of Sprint Nextel Corp., business will go on as planned at the Coliseum in Bloomington.
According to a press release issued by U.S. Cellular on Nov. 7, it will be selling nearly 10 percent of its customer base — 585,000 customers — for $480 million.
“It will have no bearing on the Coliseum,” Bart Rogers, U.S. Cellular Coliseum vice president and general manager, said. “U.S. Cellular intends to fulfill all of the remaining years left on the Coliseum Naming Rights contract.”
“They see great value in name recognition and branding with our facility and their name combined,” Rogers added.
Employees at the Coliseum will not be affected by the move, and there is no correlation between its corporation and U.S. Cellular staff, Rogers said.
While the future of the Coliseum is secure, the same is not as certain for U.S. Cellular stores and employees throughout the Midwest.
Going forward, U.S. Cellular will continue to serve more than 5.2 million customers. By exiting the markets it hopes to penetrate the current market at a high rate and further differentiate “U.S. Cellular customer experience from other wireless carriers,” Marry N. Dixon, U.S. Cellular president and CEO, stated in a press release.
“During the transition period, the company may keep open certain retail locations in the Transaction Markets and will provide certain transition services to Sprint,” the press release stated. “Over time, both company and agent-owned stores will be closed.
Upon completion of the transition services period, the majority of the company’s retail, engineering and business support associates in these markets will not be retained.”
Rogers said they will still be selling phones in Peoria and western Illinois.
While in the transition period, most of the company’s associates will become employees of the vendor partner. The Customer Care Center’s operation expenses are expected to
The transaction must still pass through certain legal procedures. It must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and be in compliance with the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.
If the final approvals are made, it is expected to close by mid-2013.
Currently, U.S. Cellular is the seventh-largest wireless carrier in the nation. It serves approximately 5.8 million customers in 26 states.
Telephone and Data Systems, Inc., owns the majority of U.S. Cellular, with 84 percent of the holdings.