U.S. Cellular today announced it will raise up to $500 million by issuing debt through its existing securities registration and/or through new lines of credit with banks or other lending partners.
“U.S. Cellular’s existing liquidity and capital structure provide a strong financial foundation,” Kenneth R. Meyers, U.S. Cellular president and CEO, said in a statement. “Additionally, U.S. Cellular continues to make progress on monetizing non-strategic spectrum and towers. However, these resources may not be sufficient to fund all of the long-term investments that the company is making.”
The carrier said that any funds coming from the new debt would be used for general corporate purposes like possible spectrum purchases or capital expenditures.
U.S. Cellular, operating as Advantage Spectrum, is currently one of the 70 approved bidders in the FCC’s ongoing AWS-3 spectrum auction. After 7 days, that auction has drawn in more than $34 billion in bids for 65 MHz of paired and unpaired spectrum in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands.
It’s unclear how U.S. Cellular is performing in that auction but the carrier did manage to sell off some of its current AWS holdings last year to T-Mobile and Verizon. It also sold some of its PCS spectrum licenses to Sprint.
U.S. Cellular said no agreements are in place yet for the debt offering.
The carrier is seeking to raise new funds as it comes off a third quarter that saw it lose about $22 million but gain about 52,000 postpaid subscribers. Meyers said during the earnings call that he was confident U.S. Cellular could continue to attract new customers through device and data pricing promotions.