USCellular Acquisition Analysis

TeamBy the Airwave Team

Since TDS and UScellular announced their intention to explore 'strategic alternatives' in August, many have questioned the feasibility of a tier 1 carrier acquiring their spectrum. This is a complex issue, but Airwave offers the tools needed to analyze it. Consider the feasibility of Verizon acquiring USCellular. Such an acquisition is certainly possible, though there are many areas where Verizon would face challenges. For example, in northern New England, Verizon is below all three screen thresholds without UScellular’s spectrum.

With the acquisition, however, they would exceed the screen threshold in all three screen categories and would have complete control over the 850 MHz Cellular band (n5).

Take Aroostook, Maine (CMA 464: ME 2 - Somerset). The screen results would be as follows:

  • Low: 60 MHz over the screen
  • Low + Mid: 121.5 MHz over the screen
  • Millimeter: 700 MHz over the screen

Zooming out a bit, we can use the Airwave Research screen tool to visualize the screen results. Below is an exported image of the northeast counties, with red indicating the counties where they would require an enhanced screen by the FCC.

Our tool allows you to play out ‘what if’ scenarios to acquire a portion of USCellular’s spectrum to avoid requiring the enhanced screen. For access to the tool, please reach out to us at or our interest form at

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