TPG buying RCN & planning 4G network

Private-equity firm TPG has agreed to buy US cable operators RCN and Grande Communications for $US2.25 bn.

Google Capital is taking a minority stake in the companies, currently owned by private-equity firm Abry Partners.

RCN provides cable, phone and broadband services on the East Coast and in Chicago, while Grande offers the same services in Texas. Grande and RCN have shared management and other resources since Abry agreed to buy the two companies in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Their management, including CEO Jim Holanda, is reported to be staying on after the sale.

Over the weekend local press speculation appears to confirm that TPG is poised to begin work on its own 4G network. It revealed plans over the weekend to design and implement ann ‘LTE network rollout’.

The move was revealed by a recruitment advertisement for a senior network engineer, posted August 13th, which was picked up by local website iTnews.

A TPG spokesperson said: “We’re in an R&D phase. We’ve always had people in the background from a research and development perspective. I wouldn’t look too much into a job posting.”

TPG was a bidder in the digital dividend spectrum auctions of 2013. It also has some 1800 MHz spectrum, which could similarly be used for 4G services.

TPG has been steadily building its mobile customer base both organically and through acquisition. It also has extensive backhaul and dark fibre assets, all of which make an LTE rollout quite possible.