**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q1 2013 or here for the biggest M&A during that time in the service provider-BSS/OSS spaces.**
Sprint has closed its purchase of U.S. Cellular assets in the Midwest, which include 20MHz of PCS spectrum in various markets, including Chicago; South Bend, Ind.; and Champaign, Ill.; and 10MHz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis area.
The carrier says this will significantly increase its network capacity and improve the customer experience in these markets. The transaction also includes 420,000 U.S. Cellular customers.
The two companies already have notified affected customers and Sprint will send them additional information on the exact timing and details of the transition, which will last several months. Sprint and its Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and payLo prepaid brands are providing special offers and incentives for affected customers that Sprint says significantly reduce the cost of acquiring a new device to transition from the U.S. Cellular network. Those customers will not be charged an early-termination fee when switching their service.
“We know how important good value, network performance and excellent service are to these customers and Sprint has a wide portfolio of competitive devices, prepaid options, an improved 3G and growing 4G LTE network experience, and unlimited data, text and voice plans to meet their wireless needs," said Paget Alves, Sprint chief sales officer. “We want their business and are motivated to make the transition as seamless as possible."
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