Sprint reportedly mulling T-Mobile bid

Sprint reportedly mulling T-Mobile bid

Sprint Corp. is researching the possibility of merging with T-Mobile USA. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, whose company owns more than 80 percent of Sprint, is pushing for the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal (available to subscribers only).

Verizon and AT&T dwarf both Sprint and T-Mobile in terms of subscribers. Combined, Sprint and T-Mobile would have about 54 million postpaid subscribers - still short of either AT&T 72 million or Verizon's 95 million subscriber base.

This comes two years after T-Mobile's planned merger with AT&T failed. The Justice Department filed opposition to AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile, citing anti-trust concerns.

Sprint hasn't decided whether to move ahead with a bid, according to the report - they're gunshy about crossing federal regulators, but executives from both Sprint and T-Mobile have argued in favor of the merger, which they say would give them the scale needed to compete more effectively with their bigger rivals.

Sprint's right to have anti-trust concerns. Part of federal regulators' concerns is that a merger may hurt competition for consumers which helps keep prices in check. To that end, a new reinvigorated T-Mobile has spent much of this year shaking up the US wireless market by eliminating cell phone subsidies and long-term contracts, simplifying its rate plans and offering deals like free data for 4G LTE-equipped iPads. In November the company indicated that it has added a million subscribers to its rolls so far in 2013.

The 4G LTE wars between the four major carriers is continuing to heat up: Verizon boasts that it has the most robust coverage of any of the nationwide carriers, while AT&T says that its nationwide 4G LTE network is the most reliable. Sprint is playing catchup, and T-Mobile has spent much of the year upgrading its own network with improved 4G LTE support.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

Sprint reportedly mulling T-Mobile bid

11 Comments

I'm not sure if this would be good for us consumers. Only three major carriers. I don't want to imagine how the prices and service would enhance. I guess we will have to see!

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It would be interesting for sure. With Sprint & T-mobile being so much smaller than Verizon and AT&T. A Sprint and T-Mobile combo could really put up some competition to the other heavy hitters.
... Of course, I'm not sure about a mixture of Sprint yellow and T-Mobile hot pink...

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Hopefully if this happens it will put more pressure on AT&T and Verizon to have to change their plans and pricing

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CDMA and GSM this should go as well as it did with Nextel's iDen (sarcasm). I personally see many people leaving Tmobile if this happens. I know many people in Denver who hate Sprint's service myself included and would rather pay Verizon's high price then have Sprint's service. From my personal experience with Sprint I also would rather pay for Verizon than Sprint.

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Exactly how in the heck would that work?! Sprint is taking long enough with stupid Network Vision I can't imagine how long it would take to convert all their spectrum to GSM. I'm assuming GSM cause it would be stupid for T-Mobile to use CDMA and sprints horrible LTE.

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Exactly!!! Exactly my/our experience with Sprint in North-Central Florida! Sprint is pathetic, Verizon's service is easily four or five times that of Sprint. And, my question also: is this going to be a repeat of Sprint/Nextel? Or, maybe the new company (Sprint-Mobile?) will offer service in two flavors: CDMA yellow or GSM pink

How would this work? Sprint is CDMA/LTE and T-Mobile is GSM/LTE. Do both networks even operate in the same LTE bands? More importantly, if they merge, what would the resulting carrier be called? Sprint still has a major sponsorship deal with NASCAR, so unless the name change works out the same as how Sprint bought Nextel and it became the SPRINT CUP series (use to be the Nextel cup series), I'm not sure how it would all play out. Is this something that either Sprint or T-Mobile customers want, or is this more about overpaid executives seeking a big pay day for getting a deal done?

They can merge yes, but stay as two companies. They don't have to consolidate CDMA/GSM/LTE, it would be too costly. Sprint is not Sprint anymore. It's now Sprint a company owned by Softbank. Softbank is a GSM company too. Doesn't mean that Sprint had to change to GSM.