Regional cell phone company Ntelos shifts operations west in the Virginias in a strategic move

Industries Associated Press

Ntelos will exit eastern portions of Virginia to focus on the western half of the state and also West Virginia, where the regional cell phone company has a stronger base.

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Ntelos is selling its 1900 MHz PCS wireless spectrum licenses covering Hampton Roads/Norfolk and Richmond to T-Mobile for about $56 million. The company will wind down that network and retail operations there over the next year, transitioning customers to another carrier.

Ntelos wants to be completely out of those eastern regions by November of next year and said Tuesday that it anticipates about $55 million in costs related to its departure. The deal, targeted to close in April, must still be approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

Ntelos has a more competitive retail position to the west, where it benefits from an alliance with Sprint.

Ntelos Holdings Corp., based in Waynesboro, says it's also looking for ways to monetize its non-core assets, possibly through the sale of towers it owns and spectrum that has not been deployed.