Verizon Communications (VZ) Monday announced that it agreed to buy some of the assets of Bluegrass Cellular, a rural wireless operator serving central Kentucky, for an undisclosed sum.
Bluegrass Cellular provides wireless service to 210,000 customers in 34 counties in rural service areas.
“We are excited to … expand our footprint in Kentucky,” Ronan Dunne, Group CEO of Verizon Consumer Group, said in a statement.
The acquisition is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval and other conditions and is expected to close late this year or early in 2021, Verizon said.
Verizon, the country's biggest wireless service provider, is locked in a battle with other top telecommunications services and media content providers, as the communications and media markets change rapidly in the digital age.
Last month Verizon announced it’s buying Tracfone, the largest wireless reseller in the country for up to $6.9 billion.
That purchase “makes sense and doesn’t change our view of the firm or our $59 fair value estimate,” Morningstar analyst Michael Hodel wrote after the deal was announced.
“Verizon is the natural home for Tracfone. Unlike AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS) , which have developed the sizable prepaid brands Cricket and Metro, respectively, Verizon has largely ignored this business, choosing instead to work with resellers like Tracfone to attack the lower end of the wireless market.”
Now, “more than 13 million of Tracfone’s 21 million customers are on the Verizon network, including most of the firm’s 10 million StraightTalk customers,” Hodel said.
“Tracfone has invested aggressively to build StraightTalk into a solid presence at the higher end of the prepaid market, and we expect the brand will form the core of Verizon’s prepaid strategy.”