Hello...Hello...Hmm. there's nobody there..after trotting over to my neighboorhood U.S Cellular Store there was a reason why. The store was vacated lock..stock and barrel. Not even a note...customer service wasn't picking up. In researching the matter, a Radio Shack Rep,in the area who sells phones for most of the phone carriers under one roof . Disclosed that, U.S. Cellular, sold off its Chicago, St. Louis, as well as others in the Midwest markets, to subsidiaries of Sprint Nextel Corp. for $480 million. As part of the transition, about 640 local jobs, 160 of them in Chicago will promptly will be eliminated over time. Overall losses will affected about 980 positions, with approximately 850 of those related to retail stores.
But there's one thing, the deal, requires regulatory approval and is expected to close in mid-2013, it was similar to how AT&T crashed & burned trying to snag T-Mobile a few years ago. In U.S Cellulars deal, PCS spectrum will transfer and about 585,000 customers, which is just under 10 percent of U.S. Cellular's subscribers to Sprint. It's just about 11 percent of U.S. Cellular's service revenues.
The reason for this decision, acually made last fall,causing U.S. Cellular is selling to Sprint, they claim that they aren't reaching the rate of profitable customer growth and return on investment that's needed to operate effectively. That's code for we were doing fine until we couldn't keep pro-rating customer's bill in January for April, slapping on late charges and making them think they're always past due, when they're not. Then turning around and charging them a reconnect fee,for services that should'nt have been turned off to begin with. And pro-rating yet another full payment,while charging people $10 extra a month for overages when they were staying inside their data plan all along. And how about their lack of caring when your phone craps out , and then you find out the insurance you paid for only covers replacing the same phone, but now you have to buy a more expensive phone, because yours isn't available anymore.And it costs you another months salary for a replacement.
Customers beefed recently on U.S Cellars Facebook site about those reward points that nobody seemed to ever qualify for anything significant. Yes their Facebook page is a hot mess of customer complaints, like how you could be on the phone at home on a local call and walk into the bathroom and start roaming at your own expense.
There's a member of their team jumping back on Facebook 24/7,to defend their position with pre described corporate responses. Like when asked why the stores didn't have posting in January about the retail closings. Some place visible, instead of worrying about selling those $500 smart phones at the last minute that nobody will benefit from, because Sprint won't care after this June, because their a 4g provider, and could care less about your 3g device. Within 5 minutes at 5am a rep said ..."Oh that information was released in Nov. Of 2012 in most news paper financial sections', oh ok my fault, when I saw that tiny font under a pic of your CEO, Mary Dillon I should have made the connection.Too bad that giant Thanksgiving department store ad on the opposite page, was such a distraction.
U.S. Cellular's downfall was basically that don't not offer 4G service in Chicago, like their competition AT&T and Verizon Wireless.President and CEO, Mary Dillon acknowledged that launching 4G service requires a step-up in technology investment that did not make sense in markets where penetration is low. A sensitive area she would know about. She went on to say ,U.S Cellular feels very strongly for the future, and are going to continue to be headquartered here in Chicago,their home base since 1985.
Speaking of which, here's good news, the company said the Sprint deal does not change naming rights on the home field for the White Sox, U.S. Cellular Field. Hmm...thanks God for long term contracts.Then going on to say U.S Cellular has 1,400 associates in Chicago so their relationship with the Chicago White Sox is not part of that deal and will not be changing. Because U.S. Cellular motto is "consumer experience" center at the ballpark will be staying in place.Claiming that he Sprint deal does not change naming rights on the home field for the White Sox, U.S. Cellular Field...ah ok.. can you say Sprint Ball Park.
The logic according to their CEO, the move as getting "stronger by initially getting smaller" and said the decision was "not taken lightly," given the effect on the company's employees.Whom, by the way, all quit their jobs last fall to take sales position's with U.S. Also stating that while the company is now getting out of Chicago and other markets, "this move does allow us to get to the next generation of technology in our remaining markets faster. Expecting 58 percent of its customers to be covered by 4G LTE by year-end, with the roll-out continuing into next year....and who is this for exactly? Definetly not for Chicago users!