TELECOMS

Former Sprint Cohort Seeks T-Mobile Deal

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Regional US operator and long-time Sprint partner Shenandoah Telecommunications (Shentel) sought to strike an affiliate deal with T-Mobile US, heading to the negotiating table in a bid to secure its future following a tie-up between the tier-1 players.

The negotiations mark a pivotal moment for Shentel, which has operated as a Sprint affiliate since 1995, selling products under the latter’s brand rather than its own. Its contract with Sprint was set to run until November 2029.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Shentel noted it has 90 days to come to terms with T-Mobile. If the pair fail to settle on an agreement by then, T-Mobile will have 60 days to decide whether it wants to purchase Shentel’s mobile assets.

Should T-Mobile reject this option, Shentel will be given the opportunity to purchase the legacy T-Mobile network and subscribers within its service area. If it chooses not to, T-Mobile will be forced to sell the operations on the open market or decommission them.

Shentel is one of the largest regional players in the US, with a footprint spanning parts of six states in the Mid-Atlantic area and a total of 1.1 million mobile subscribers at 31 December 2019.

During a recent call with investors, COO Dave Heimbach forecast a steep drop in mobile capex from $72 million in 2019 to a range of US$40 million to US$45 million in 2020, noting the company planned to put expansion efforts on hold until the situation with T-Mobile was settled.-Mobile World Live

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