Until SoftBank/Sprint makes an official bid for Deutsche Telekom’s controlling stake in T-Mobile US or makes an official statement that it’s not interested, rumors will continue regarding the possible merger. Today, WSJ reports that Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank and Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint will be meeting with the FCC.
Although there are many things to be discussed during the meeting, it’s expected that Son will put forward a case to try and persuade the regulators that a Sprint/T-Mobile merger would be good for the US market. Unlike the AT&T prospective buyout in 2011 – which would have essentially created a monopoly in the GSM network market – the proposed SoftBank buyout of Tmo, and resulting merger with Sprint would create much needed competition to the big two carriers.
Of course, the argument is sound. Sprint and T-Mobile combined would create a genuine competitor to AT&T and Verizon, but that may not be enough to convince the DoJ that the merger should go ahead. In fact, it’s widely known that the Department of Justice wants to see 4 major carriers to continue operating. Reducing it down to 3 isn’t something it wants to consider. A report from last week virtually confirms that much, as an antitrust official put dampers on the deal.
Whether or not Son heads the advice of the DoJ is yet to be seen. Earlier reports have indicated that he’s already sounding out banks on financing the deal, and has been finalizing details of the deal with Deutsche Telekom.
One thing we know for certain: This is not the last we’ll hear of the deal between SoftBank and DT.