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Carrier Consolidation Continues

Basking Ridge, N.J. — Verizon is buying Cincinnati Bell’s wireless operations in a deal valued at $210 million.

Verizon will get access to Cincinnati Bell’s 1.9GHz and 1.7/2.1GHz spectrum in the Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, areas.

 “It has become economically challenging for us to invest in our wireless business at the levels necessary to deliver best-in-class service to our customers,” said Cincinnati Bell president/CEO Ted Torbeck. The deal “also gives us increased flexibility to meet their growing demand for our Fioptics suite of products,” he said.

The small carrier provides local and long-distance voice, high-speed Internet, entertainment and wireless services in the two markets.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter, but Cincinnati Bell said it expects to continue providing wireless service for eight to 12 months after the deal closes. Cincinnati Bell will lease back its former spectrum during that time while it winds down its wireless operations and helps customers move to another carrier.

The deal consists of $194 million in cash plus the assumption of liabilities.

 Meantime, Verizon Wireless entered into a separate agreement to assign its rights to acquire Cincinnati Bells’ spectrum licenses to Grain Management, a private equity firm that invests in the media and telecommunications sectors. Verizon Wireless will lease select spectrum licenses from Grain.

Cincinnati Bell owns 50MHz of spectrum in the Cincinnati area and 40MHz in Dayton.