Verizon is buying rural wireless operator Bluegrass Cellular, which provides service to about 210,000 customers in 34 counties across central Kentucky.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed; it’s expected to close late this year or early next, pending Federal Communications Commission approval. Verizon said that Bluegrass customer don’t have to take any action at this time and that they will receive information about the acquisition and services available from Verizon — including wireless data services on its LTE network.
“We are excited to acquire certain assets of Bluegrass Cellular and expand our footprint in Kentucky,” said Ronan Dunne, EVPt and Group CEO, Verizon Consumer Group, in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming Bluegrass customers and employees into the Verizon family and providing them with reliable wireless service alongside a best-in-class customer experience.”
“We launched the first wireless company in central Kentucky 29 years ago,” said Ron Smith, President of Bluegrass Cellular. “We’ve always known that our customers were the most important part of our business, and we pride ourselves on playing an important role in connecting our community. I’m confident that Verizon will continue to be the same good neighbor that we’ve been and will provide crucial and reliable wireless connectivity to our rural communities.”
The two network operators have a long-standing relationship; back in 2012, Bluegrass was one of the first rural carriers to launch LTE service using a combination of Verizon’s spectrum plus its own network equipment in order to provide rural LTE service as part of Verizon’s LTE in Rural America program. That program saw Verizon lease some of its spectrum holdings in rural areas through 2029 to allow local providers to build out LTE services faster; in exchange, Verizon agreed not to build out its network in those areas.