Sprint, the perennial #3 carrier in the U.S., has announced their intent to acquire spectrum and customers from regional carrier U.S. Cellular for $480 Million. The deal covers the midwest, and seems focused on Chicago and St. Louis. According to a press statement issued by Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse:

This transaction will enable us to strengthen our business and become a more robust competitor. Acquiring this spectrum will significantly increase Sprint’s network capacity and improve the customer experience in several important Midwest markets including Chicago and St. Louis. We welcome the new customers in these markets and look forward to providing them with Sprint’s unique combination of unlimited plans, an iconic device portfolio and unmatched customer service.

Sprint currently offers Apple's iPhone 5 and will be offering the iPad 4 and iPad mini when the cellular versions of those two devices ship later this month.

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. In addition, the transaction involves approximately 585,000 U.S. Cellular customers. U.S Cellular will continue its business operations outside of these markets following the closing.

The deal still has to be approved by the appropriate regulatory agencies, namely the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. If the DoJ and FCC don't have any major issues with it, Sprint expects the transaction to close in the summer of 2013.

Source: Sprint