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U.S. Cellular Gets More Spectrum Amid Coronavirus Scare

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United States Cellular Corporation (USM - Free Report) has secured the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Special Temporary Authority to use additional spectrum to meet increased customer demand for mobile broadband during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is the second wireless carrier to get such a grant. On Mar 15, the FCC gave a similar approval to T-Mobile (TMUS - Free Report) .

As a result, U.S. Cellular will be able to operate for 60 days in spectrum licensed to Advantage Spectrum in the AWS-3 Band in order to provide further capacity to customers in parts of California, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. The Chicago, IL-based company provides a range of wireless products and services, customer support and a high-quality network with 4.9 million connections in 20 states. U.S. Cellular is looking for ways to better serve customers who are making adjustments in their daily lives to minimize in-person interactions and slow the spread of the virus.

The FCC is essentially helping Americans to work from home, learn at home and connect remotely to health care professionals during this hour of crisis. To date, 185 broadband and phone service providers have joined the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, agreeing to take specific steps to help people stay connected for the next 60 days. They have committed to not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay bills, waive any late fees due to economic circumstances, and open Wi-Fi hotspots to anyone who needs them.

U.S. Cellular is well progressing with its 5G and network modernization initiatives. The company continues to expand its customer base while improving churn management and enhancing brand positioning. It intends to offer best wireless experience to customers by providing superior quality network and national coverage.

The company has taken significant steps to accelerate subscriber additions. It is well positioned to support the investment required for network enhancements, including deployment of 5G technology. The company continues identifying new revenue streams while reducing expenses across the business.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 3.3% upward over the past 30 days to $1.56. U.S. Cellular topped earnings estimates twice in the trailing four quarters and missed the same in remaining two quarters, delivering a positive surprise of 97.3%, on average. The stock has lost 11.1% compared with 14.3% decline recorded by the industry in the past three months.

U.S. Cellular currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A couple of better-ranked stocks in the broader industry are Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI - Free Report) and Qualcomm Incorporated (QCOM - Free Report) , both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Motorola topped earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, the surprise being 6.6%, on average.

Qualcomm surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, the beat being 10%, on average.

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