Light Reading

Verizon Buys Cincinnati Bell's Spectrum for $210M

Sarah Thomas

Verizon Wireless will acquire all of the wireless spectrum licenses currently held by Cincinnati Bell in a deal worth around $210 million that will see the regional operator exit the wireless business.

The carriers announced the transaction on Monday, noting that Cincinnati Bell Inc. (NYSE: CBB) will sell all its rights, titles, and interest in its wireless spectrum licenses for $194 million in cash, and Verizon Wireless will take over certain tower lease obligations.

The regional operator has been selling wireless service in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky for the past 16 years, but declining revenues and subscriber losses caused it to put the wireless segment under review last year. Once it divests its spectrum, it instead plans to focus on its Fioptics line of broadband and voice services.

Cincinnati Bell will continue to serve its 340,000 mobile customers for the eight to 12 months it takes to close the deal, and CEO Ted Torbeck said in a statement that those customers don't need to take action at this time. The carriers expect the deal to close in the second half of this year, after which Cincinnati Bell will lease back the sold spectrum as it winds down its wireless network operations.

Why this matters
Light Reading predicted that the smaller operators would become spectrum snacks for the big four last year, following AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s acquisition of Leap Wireless, as deals like this are really the only way the major players can bolster their spectrum position in the US.

In addition, it is becoming increasingly hard for the smaller players to compete against the big four, so an acquisition with a pretty decent price tag is a good exit option for the likes of Cincinnati Bell. (See Smaller US Operators to Become Spectrum Snacks?)

Related posts:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/7/2014 | 6:27:34 PM
Re: Sprint's rural alternative
I couldn't agree more--and it will continue.  But, what is gratifying to see is some of the more "creative" players out there that would continue to partner w/the major players--the one that comes to my mind (and I have their hotspot is FreedomPop). 
User Rank: Blogger
4/7/2014 | 6:25:23 PM
Re: Sprint's rural alternative
Yeah I can understand that viewpoint, but I think it's about scale. Verizon is just acquiring spectrum, not a big swatch of customers. Cincinnati Bell is the 9th largest operator in the US, but it's still pretty small. And, it's customers don't have to move to Verizon, although i bet a lot of them will. May be an opportunitiy for its competitors to court those customers in Cincy Bell's regions.
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/7/2014 | 6:22:06 PM
Re: Sprint's rural alternative
This consolidation does not bode well for competition and choice.  That's the challenging part here--although it apperas that the FCC seems not to mind the extent of the consolidations and the decision it made to release additional spectrum.


User Rank: Blogger
4/7/2014 | 1:04:31 PM
Re: Sprint's rural alternative
From what I heard it's HSPA+ network was faster than a lot of LTE option in its regions, but it still didn't have a path beyond that. Sprint could've potentially give them that, but this was a cleaner way out to focus on its landline business instead.

It did have a loyal customer base, but only in parts of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, which is probably why you were unaware.
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/7/2014 | 1:01:45 PM
Re: Sprint's rural alternative
It probably had to do with competing with Verizon. If there is one thing that Verizon has done well it has been its coverages, especially in LTE.

The VZ network is so good and dominating it probably was a disincentive for Cincinnati Bell to try to compete. And I didn't even know Cincinnati Bell had wireless services. 
User Rank: Blogger
4/7/2014 | 11:24:21 AM
Sprint's rural alternative
It's interesting that Cincy Bell found it too expensive to invest in LTE, which is a big reason they sold to Verizon. But, just last week Sprint announced its deal with the CCA to help, even pay for, LTE deployments amongst its rural customer base. Cincy Bell is a CCA member. Why do you think they didn't consider this option?
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (0) comments

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
Hot Topics
Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
Eurobites: Dunroamin'
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 10/2/2015
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cisco's Chambers Rules Out Political Bid
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/6/2015
Sprint to Cut Up to $2.5B in 6 Months
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 10/2/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here