Sprint buys $480M in spectrum/customers from US Cellular, FCC fines AT&T $700K for overbilling

A couple carriers are making headlines today for different reasons. Sprint, which could soon be scooped up by Softbank, announced today (via Engadget) it is spending $480 million to acquire PCS spectrum and 585,000 customers from U.S. cellular across the Midwest. As always, the deal is subject to approval from government officials in the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission, but Sprint could take over the spectrum and customers in “parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio including the Chicago and St. Louis markets” by sometime next year:

Under the terms of the agreement, Sprint will acquire 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in the 1900 MHz band in various Midwest markets including Chicago, South Bend, Ind. and Champaign, Ill. and 10 MHz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis market.

AT&T is also making the news today with the FCC announcing the carrier will pay a $700,000 fine to put an end to the agency’s investigation into how the carrier handled its transition to mandatory monthly data plans (via BGR). The investigation followed complaints from consumers that AT&T had switched them from grandfathered pay-as-you-go plans to its new monthly plans as far back as 2009. According to the FCC, as part of the settlement, AT&T “has agreed to refund excess charges paid by individual customers, which could be as much as $25 to $30 a month, depending on data use”: Read more

T-Mobile to offer unlocked iPhone users additional support starting Jan. 30

T-Mobile will begin offering more than 1 million unlocked iPhone customers additional support starting Jan. 30, according to a report from TMO News who obtained internal documents. The documents said the new support offerings would include, “common procedures, information about feature and specifications and other basic device questions.”

The carrier is also updating the iPhone website within its Community so it fits in with the rest of the T-Mobile supported device pages and “Integrated Scope of Support” for representatives. Earlier this month, we had a chance to talk with T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray regarding the failed AT&T merger and the carrier’s plans to hit the switch on 1900 MHz HSPA+ spectrum in a number of cities in the Eastern U.S.

Read more