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U.S. Cellular's Peoria customers not part of Sprint deal
[November 13, 2012]

U.S. Cellular's Peoria customers not part of Sprint deal

Nov 13, 2012 (Journal Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- PEORIA When U.S. Cellular announced last week an agreement to sell some of its markets to Sprint Nextel Corp. for $480 million, the company wasn't talking about the Peoria area.

The sale includes spectrum space and about 10 percent of U.S. Cellular's total customer base.

"For Peoria and the Peoria market, nothing is changing," said Dave Kimbell, U.S. Cellular's chief marketing officer from his office in Chicago.

"This is really about a long-term strategy for the company. We decided to exit from a couple of larger markets (Chicago and St. Louis) where we were underperforming," he said.

"Peoria is not one of those markets. Peoria is a large and important market for U.S. Cellular," said Kimbell, citing 110,000 U.S. Cellular customers in the Peoria area alone.

U.S. Cellular is also maintaining a presence in Rockford, but Bloomington, Springfield, Decatur and Champaign will switch to Sprint, according to the agreement.

The deal, yet to be confirmed by federal regulators, cuts the number of U.S. Cellular customers from 5.8 million to 5.2 million, he said. U.S. Cellular remains the seventh-largest wireless carrier in the country, said Kimbell.

The "streamlining" will allow U.S. Cellular to operate in "a dynamic and competitive industry," he said. "It's about growing and competing where we're strong," said Kimbell.

U.S. Cellular remains committed to prooviding a high-speed network with the highest call quality of any national carrier, he said. "We just launched our 4G LTE network in Peoria on Nov. 5. Downloads are 10 times faster than before," said Kimbell.

The company will continue to launch leading devices such as the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note, he said.

"Our strategy is to focus on giving customers a great experience. That will continue," said Kimbell.

Steve Tarter can be reached at 686-3260 or Follow his blog, Minding Business, on and follow him on Twitter @SteveTarter ___ (c)2012 the Journal Star (Peoria, Ill.) Visit the Journal Star (Peoria, Ill.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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