Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) has closed its deal for wireless PCS spectrum from U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM) for $480 million.

The deal, announced in November, increases Sprint’s network capacity in the Chicago, South Bend, Ind. and Champaign, Ill. markets. 

Sprint is also gaining 420,000 U.S. Cellular customers in the transaction.

In January, wireless competitor AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) said that it was also buying spectrum, from rival Verizon Wireless Inc. (NYSE: VZN) for $1.9 billion. 

The U.S. wireless phone market has been consolidating.

Dish Network Corp. and SoftBank Corp. are competing to buy a majority stake in Sprint.

Softbank, a Japanese company, offered $20.1 billion in October to buy about 70 percent of Sprint. In April, Dish offered $25.5 billion.

In January, AT&T said it would pay $780 million to buy the retail wireless operations of Atlanta Tele-Network Inc. (Nasdaq: ATNI), which does business as Alltel. 

Dish is also competing with Sprint to buy Clearwire Corp. (Nasdaq: CLWR). In December, Sprint offered $2.2 billion, plus debt assumption, to buy about 49 percent of Clearwire. The company already owns about 51 percent. In January, Dish offered about $2.28 billion

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