Did Sprint Try To Establish A Network Sharing Agreement With T-Mobile USA?

So, did Sprint try to set up a network sharing agreement with T-Mobile USA through talks with T-Mobile USA parent Deutsche Telekom? According to a new Wall Street Journal report, the answer is yes. The report indicates the talks went nowhere but considering the whispers and rumors of such a scenario taking place in the aftermath of the failed AT&T deal, we aren’t surprised.

Unfortunately, the revelation that talks actually took place comes amid speculation the Sprint board is unhappy with current CEO Dan Hesse. Combining failed talks with T-Mobile along with the board’s rejection of a proposed takeover of MetroPCS and Hesse looks to be in trouble.

Two potential Sprint deals have already foundered this year, according to people familiar with the matter: An acquisition of prepaid-carrier MetroPCS CommunicationsInc. was shot down by the board, and talks with Deutsche Telekom AG about network sharing with its T-Mobile USA went nowhere.

Rumors for a potential hookup with Sprint have floated around for a long long time but this is the first bit of information that has surfaced post-AT&T tying Sprint and T-Mobile together. Sprint was a loud opponent of AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile and with both carriers in a distant third and fourth place, a hookup of sorts does make sense. It just doesn’t look like it will ever happen.

Wall Street Journal

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  • Lbbrook24

    Isn’t one CDMA and Tmo GSM, how would;ve that have worked?

    • They might have been planning to share their LTE networks since it will require the same tech anyway.

    • Hurlamania

      Sprint wants a gsm system sharing with Tmo would help converting it’s system. With sprint and Tmo both planning lte it could work quite nicely. Plus look at Al the tower locations they could share.

  • Ricktrann

    Hey david, any news on galaxy nexus coming to TMO or the SAMSUNG T999??? I’ve been waiting like crazy… Might wanna bite the bullet and buy an international version… Let me know please??

    •  in phone years its as old as sgu’s destiny amazing things are coming soon the question is will it land on T-mobile answer eventually

    • Buy the international version. The T999 is most likely the GSIII.

      • Maierchebus

        where could could i find this online to buy?

      • UMA_Fan

        What do you think is the likely hood T-Mobile will get a variant of the HTC One X now that a quad core Tegra 3 One X just passed the FCC without T-Mobile bands.

  • Taron19119

    Is it true that the one s one x and one v is up for pre order everywhere but the usa

  • BigMixxx

    Set aside everything that’s happening.  The SCARY thing here is that SPRINT is BROKE.  I keep saying the same thing over and over.  They just are.  The ship is sinking very slowly, but it’s sinking, but people are talking about T mobile.  

    The board no longer trusts Hesse… and the board will and must do something to keep stock holders happy.  The metro deal would have been atrocious to the company, as the stock price would have dropped into the toilet.  

    Working a deal with T mobile would really lower infrastructure costs for both companies. Smart move on both sides, if they want to continue to compete… 

    • ChadBroChillz

      the Board of Directors is the one ruining this company. The Metro deal would have not been great at this time, but at least they would get more capacity. That was the point of the Network Sharing deal with Tmobile, which IMO would have been a great deal for both companies( But tmobile current plan is still very nice). They would have had more capacity than Verizon or ATT’s LTE network. 
      Hesse is the one trying to save this company with improving their network under network vision, refarming iDEN spectrum, and getting an iPhone deal that netted 700,000+ new postpaid customers last quarter. Hesse has experience saving companies( look at what he did when he was ATT wireless CEO). It is going to take time, which he explained to them prior to even going forward.what has the BoD done? sign off on the nextel deal, Sign off on buying the 2.5ghz spectrum, sign off on choosing wimax, etc. I would much rather trust hesse with his track record over the BoD. Sprint might not have made money in a while, but they have gained customers, and are probably going to gain more after they turn on their LTE network with unlimited data as their big seller, which will lead to profits after their network vision plan is paid for. 

      • The problem with Sprint is that ultimately they planned everything at massive scales, and everything failed. T-Mobile, which obviously has a lot of really uneducated lower class people in it’s customer base that whine and complain a lot on these boards, has ALWAYS made pretty hefty profits. Even during the last quarter, which was bad as far as net subscriber loss resulted in good net income. Sprint has been losing money for god knows how many quarters. They failed at the Nextel merger, they failed with Wimax and will now eventually move to LTE, as they should. But the problem is all of these major failures cost a lot of money and were large scale. T-Mobile now is the smartest of the two by far. They waited for a reasonable amount of time, they are doing all of the following with their own spectrum and not having to spend any major dollars on spectrum: 1) refarming HSPA+ to 1900, thereby increasing coverage and quality, 2) putting in LTE at AWS, and they have 20 Mhz in most of the top markets. I’m telling you, for all of the uneducated comments you get on here, T-Mobile is infinitely placed better at this point than Sprint.

        • UMA_Fan

          No doubt.  Losing customers is lesser of the two worst places to be over losing massive amounts of money every quarter.

        • Theman

          Sadly though, the loss of those 800k subscribers will definitely be felt in upcoming quarters.

        • BigMixxx

          Totally agree (outside of folks whining, because people will obviously whine about something, uneducated…of course, we are drones…we believe in what we are told, not what we know).

          T mobile is on the right path, it’s now about execution, staying the course, and keeping their customers.  and yes, they did make a billion dollars this last quarter…

        • ChrisMeyersIsAnIdiot

          Wow you are the biggest dumb ass ever, also you should speak for yourself. I’m educated and on T-Mobile. I am pretty sure I am more educated than you, and I can almost certainly guarantee I’ve attended a better university than you have. I have a degree from a world renowned institution. 

          I know high paid doctors, lawyers and engineers all on T-Mobile. Many of my friends back home in Silicon Valley who are engineers for companies like intel, Google, AMD, Oracle, etc…are all on T-Mobile. Except for those with iPhones are on At&t. I know very few “educated” people on Verizon.

          You are a complete and utter idiot.

        • I would expect anyone making such claims as being better educated with better friends in high places would have the decency not to delve into lowball personal attacks. Kthxbai. 

        • ChadBroChillz

          Let me preface this with the fact that I do not hate Tmobile, and am a Sprint and Tmobile Fanboy( basically a fan of the underdogs and would hate an oligarchy between Verizon and Att)

          I agree that Sprint has failed quite a bit in their history, but again that is on the old management, and those failures are leading to a brighter future after their LTE network is up and running.  I know Tmobile has always made profits( not sure about the hefty part, since their parent company was willing to sell them). I know T-mobile made money last quarter, but one could argue that it was because of reduced costs in network upgrades, the 2,600 job cuts this year, and turning their customer service into Customer Sales Dept. 

          Sprint failed at Nextel, but that was in 2006, and now they have 14MHz of nationwide beachfront property , while Tmobile has basically nada. Wimax failed for two reasons: Clearwire could not handle its money and they were using 2.5GHz spectrum, which needs more towers and has poor building penetration. Sprint/Clearwire can swallow the failure of Wimax, because waiting would have caused them to lose the rights to the spectrum. Refarming at a later date is better than losing the rights to spectrum you paid for, especially when spectrum is truly become scarce. 

           I will agree that they were the smarter of the two in the PAST. I can’t agree that Tmobile is the smarted of the two now. A lot of Tmobile’s LTE plan looks like it was copied from Sprint.

           Hesse was attempting to buy metro to increase capacity for the FUTURE. 20mhz? I hope you are not thinking 20mhz in a few markets is a lot. Sprint is going to have 10mhz on their PCS G block(nationwide), 10mhz on their 800mhz( again nationwide), and they can call up their buddy’s at Clearwire to add 20mhz TD-LTE( which will have higher capacity because of higher band and that TD-LTE does not need a separate downlink and uplink) at any tower they want. Also they can make that call up to 7 times in most major markets.

        • woo’s gaught more smarts?!

          how dares you says where unedumacated! Eyem one of those tooth doctors for a livin’ and own fourty akores, a new shiney pick ’em up truck, and too double wide trailrs! You must bee with that devil carrier Sprint! I’ll sea you in hail, you basterd!

      • BigMixxx

        Hesse probably has some type of vision, just no money to support it.  Metro PCS purchase was not a good look for them, as that would have put them no better in a spectrum race.  Right Now the Board is looking to save value in the company.  Everything will cost sprint right now.  Even if they netted 700K new subscribers, the real income won’t be realized until the next year, but wait….they owe apple more money.

        He sold it to someone….

        • ChadBroChillz

          I agree the Metro deal was not the smartest right now, but I believe it was about more than spectrum. Metro currently has 9.3 million customers and averages 10mhz of PCS nationwide and 10mhz of AWS nationwide( which they bought for 1.4 billion at the auction). Sprint would have gained more that 9.3 million customers giving them around 65 million subscribers total. They could have kept the 10mhz of PCS, then sold the AWS to tmobile/ATT/Verizon for double the original bid. which would make the net cost 5 Billion. 5 Billion for increase capacity and 10 million more customers is a steal.

          The Board is looking at short term profits instead of the future, which is what Hesse is looking at. Being kinda profitable in the short term is nice, but gets you treated like the red headed step child(TMOUS knows what I am talking about). To compete with the big boys, you need to have a network that can compete along with competitive phones. Hesse is trying give his company one of the most advanced network along with savings in network maintenance (about 1 billion a year in savings). 

        • MetroPCS does not have nationwide spectrum. MetroPCS only has spectrum in about twenty markets, and nothing outside of that. The extended MetroPCS coverage area is provided through Leap Wireless International and Sprint-Nextel Corporation.

        • UMA_Fan

          What do you think is the likely hood of T-Mobile buying Metro PCS?  

          Would the spectrum assets on Metro be of any benefit to T-Mobile?

  • Sprint put everything they had into the I-Phone. Sorry to say it did not help them. Apple grinded every dime they could squeeze out of Sprint and it looks like all they did was throw Sprint an anchor. IMO the I-Phone will not help if your Carrier has the slowest data in the USA. They have the worst 3G signal and is very slow.

    • wildside84

      I just switched from t-mo to sprint only for financial reasons. i hate it already. once im back on my feet im going back to t-mo. sprint’s 3g is half as fast as t-mo’s. i dont even bother with anything internet related unless im on wi-fi.

      • CRT24

        Why would you switch to Sprint for financial reasons? T-Mobile charges less

      • Magenta Man

        Seriously?!? Financial reasons? T-Mobile absolutely charges less. “Challenger Strategy”

      • Alwaystanning

        When I checked into switching my family plan away from T-Mobile six months ago… none of the other three carriers could come within $50 of what we are paying for TMO.  Has something changed?  We have four smart phones and only pay $20/month each for 5GB service and the extra lines cost $5/month (after the first two).  Sprint can’t come close to this…

  • Wilma Flintstone

    I wouldn’t mind this.  Having an Aunt that Works for Sprint and me being on Tmobile, I’d have the best of Both worlds.  :)

    I’m glad Tmo is taking things a bit more seriously now though. LTE can only help.

  • EXIBITman

    Damm that guy looks like a douchbag. tmobile needs to stay aways from sprin there data speeds are are so dam slow. i used to have a sprintcompany isued phone abtout a 2 yrs ago.they recently switched all of our company phones tmobile after i had brought this isue up with our CEOs

    • Gg

      They are talking about LTE sharing.

    • 123

      Naw. His face looks like an evolved flying dupey from Dilbert.

    • uneducated tmo customer

      He is a creepy looking sob! Looks like he has a bad comb-over like these southern baptist preachers down here. yee haw!

      Seriously though, Hesse has done quite well and saved Sprint. The only real boner he’s made is wimax. But they are hurting for cash, big time! His long term plan is great but the payoff isn’t an immediate one especially the latest with Apple. I just don’t know if the bod has the patience to keep him around. He is the best thing that has ever happened to that company and it would be a big no no if the bod canned him. Oh well… I wish the bod would can our CEO lol!

  • watbetchh

    Sharing with Sprint just doesn’t sound like a good idea especially because they are using PCS and T-Mobile/AT&T/Verizon are using AWS. Sprint will be in the position T-Mobile was with launching 3G on an odd band, not a good one to be in.

    • dugroc

      I would in the sense of roaming, and network stability. Think, if you don’t have in home service with T-Mobile but you do with Sprint on the 2G level then your always going to be able to make a phone call. And that is big in my eyes.

      • watbetchh

        It’s LTE only, not for 1X. 

    • WiWavelength

      However, Sprint has the PCS spectrum to launch LTE in all markets nationwide.  T-Mobile, on the other hand, lacks sufficient AWS spectrum to launch LTE in about 20 percent of the top 100 markets.  In fact, T-Mobile cannot even deploy DC-HSPA+ 42 (not in AWS, nor in PCS) in many of those same markets because T-Mobile simply does not have enough spectrum to run GSM, W-CDMA, and LTE all simultaneously.

      So, do not be too quick to dismiss a Sprint-T-Mobile LTE network sharing agreement using PCS spectrum.  By going it alone on LTE in AWS, T-Mobile may find itself with a long, slow road ahead, once again falling well behind other carriers in 3G/4G deployment.

      I put together a logic table that shows what T-Mobile has the spectrum to deploy in which markets:


      Some markets will be just fine.  Others have serious spectrum deficiencies. If T-Mobile is to succeed on its own, it will have to solve those spectrum shortcomings.  As for the alternative, if T-Mobile were to partner with Sprint for LTE in PCS, the combination of the two carriers’ PCS spectrum holdings would fill in those holes straight away.


  • I have to say I did do a network speed test on a 3G Sprint phone.  There so called 3G performs at 2G speed levels.  With my Sidekick 4G i was getting well over 7MBps on 3G with T-Mobile.  Sprint is just terrible, I couldn’t do slow 3G at a High Price just not ethical.

    • Fabian Cortez

      7 MBps (bytes) huh?

      Surely you mean 7 Mbps (bits).

      • Chris

        Who cares what she wrote, I hate people that try to correct everything written on the web.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Except there’s a huge difference between MBps and Mbps.
          It kind of matters in this case. Not to mention the topic and website at hand.”There” vs. “their” vs. “they’re” wouldn’t matter as much, although another peeve of mine.

  • BubbidasSUCK

    Very bad idea.  Why is Sprint even ahead of T-Mobile?

    • fixxmyhead

      cuz they have unlimited data and soooo many ppl gets suckered into that and fail to realize the speeds (fine print: speeds are dial up speeds) 

  • A network sharing agreement is not the best idea right now. T-Mobile uses GSM technology while Sprint uses CDMA technology. T-Mobile is going to launch LTE on AWS while Sprint is going to launch it on 1900 PCS spectrum. A sharing agreement doesn’t seem to be compatible with either 3G nor 4G LTE.

  • Jayjay

    Nice chart. I think that Tmobile should take some help or FCC and get a deal done with AT&T on its 700 MHz spectrum. Sprints way should be the last option

  • UMA_Fan

    What is DC-HSPA+ 42?  Is that just regular ol hspa+ 42?

  • watbetchh

     HSPA+ 21Mbps in 2 carriers (AWS/PCS, or one in AWS where there’s only 10MHz for PCS and AWS) will have to do for those markets, and T-Mobile should look into ways to increase capacity such as 4 to 6 sector antenna arrays. It’s not like these markets will be on GSM til the world ends, and if T-Mobile can find ways to enhance HSPA capacity without getting more spectrum, most users won’t even care/notice.

    There’s such a big deal being made over them not having spectrum to launch LTE in every market, it really isn’t that serious. 21Mbps HSPA+ will suffice for those markets where T-Mobile probably doesn’t even have a huge presence. The only reason why LTE is being pushed so hard is because Sprint/Verizon’s peak data speeds are so dismal compared to that of AT&T and T-Mobile and it is necessary for them to move to LTE quickly. It’s not that big of a deal for T-Mobile and to a lesser extent, AT&T.

    I’m not the one that was quick to dismiss it, T-Mobile was… for good reason. Sprint will be doing 5×5 LTE if I’m not mistaken because even they don’t have a good amount (10×10) of spectrum to allocate to LTE.

  • Chris

    Along with AT&T, I don’t understand why Sprint has so many customers. I just made my mom switch away from them and to T-Mobile. Sprints Unlimited Internet is slower than EDGE speeds, just horrible.

    • Scarfacemario

      Yeah I ask my self that question a lot too

    • Gouv

      Well Chris, there is clearly a reason that you are not willing to accept AT&T’s massiveness in the market and their ability to compete well..  I’ve heard just the opposite many times over in regard to T-Mobile.  “Along with Sprint, I don’t understand why T-mobile has so many customers”.  It just means that even t-mobile is satisfying the needs of many people much like yourself.  But lets face it, there are always a few reasons why one company brings in more profit and manages to grow even while costing more….  What could that be?  and please don’t be like tmo management and blame it entirely on the iPhone because it clearly goes deeper than that.

  • Lenny mills

    ya sit here and dont realize how sucker ya feel i mean you claim that your tmobile speeds faster then sprint but fail to say that after what gb you use up what speed is it now dont matter with sprint cause it still unlimted no matter what speed it is

  • David

    Glad it didn’t happen because if it does happen I will swith from T-Mobile and will never look back.

    Sprint customer service and network sux and nowhere near T-Mobile.

    T-Mobile plans are much better just too bad they become a network of cheap crappy Android devices that are laggy , full of viruses and malware which also keep tracking and recording all your data.

    And this is a reason I am leaving T-Mobile to AT&T after being their customer for very very long time.

    So at this point I guess it doesn’t matter for me but I am hoping in 2 years T-Mobile offer more high-end devices for other platforms like Windows Phone and I will come back to T-Mobile again but till then I will be with AT&T and will enjoy Nokia Lumia 900.

    I know many says AT&T is bad or more expensive but device is matter too. When I don’t want Android and T-Mobile doesn’t offer high-end Windows Phone I have no other option than switching somewhere else and in this case AT&T is the best option with Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II.

    But I hope this T-Mobile and Sprint thing never happen so I maybe after 2 year I can come back to T-Mobile if they offer a device I want.