Sprint has announced plans to buy a small portion of smaller carrier US Cellular in bid to build up its presence in Midwest and add to its LTE spectrum holdings
Ultimately, this deal is about the spectrum that Sprint needs to overcome its currently weak position in LTE spectrum holdings. Sprint currently divides its 4G network among its own limited LTE deployments, WiMAX deployments, and 4G deployments owned by Clearwire. Sprint owns slightly less than half of Clearwire.
The reason for the urgency is two-fold. First, AT&T has been on a buying spree to add as much LTE spectrum as it can find. If Sprint waited, it could be that AT&T would decide to buy part of US Cellular. This way, Sprint when it combines the spectrum it has from the Clearwire deal to the spectrum from the US Cellular deal, will have enough room for LTE for now