Sprint reportedly puts T-Mobile merger talks on hold as it negotiates partnership with Charter and Comcast

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We’ve heard a lot of rumblings about a Sprint-T-Mobile merger lately, but it looks like talks of that deal may have been put on ice for now.

A new report from Reuters says that Sprint has paused its merger talks with T-Mobile until the end of July. That’s because Sprint has started two months of exclusive negotiations with Charter and Comcast, sources say.

Sprint is said to be talking to Charter and Comcast about a network resale agreement that would allow Charter and Comcast to improve their wireless offerings. Comcast recently rolled out its own wireless service that runs on Verizon, but it’s alleged that Charter and Comcast are in talks with Sprint to put together a similar network-sharing deal “on better terms”.

It’s also suggested that Charter and Comcast are in early talks to take on an equity stake in Sprint, which would help Sprint invest in its network. The sources of today’s report added that Charter and Comcast could consider acquiring Sprint, but that such a move is unlikely.

This news is interesting because it means that, at least for a little while, there won’t be any movement when it comes to a Sprint-T-Mobile deal. The sources of today’s report say that if Sprint does strike a deal with these cable companies, that doesn’t mean that it won’t continue seeking a merger with T-Mobile, too. So no matter how Sprint’s talks with Charter and Comcast go, a Sprint-T-Mo deal is still a possibility.

Source: Reuters

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  • Hurlamania

    let Sprint and Comcast Mary each other. Leave charter and T Mo alone

  • Acdc1a

    I think T-Mobile and Dish would be good partners as long as T-Mobile executives are in charge. Imagine an un-Pay TV initiative. Could be good times.

    • JG

      Same idea, except instead of a T-Mo/Dish merger, I’d really love to see a T-Mo/Google merger (with or without Dish to)…

      Merge Google’s Fiber and Project Fi along with T-Mobile into a single “company”, with Legere in charge.

      T-Mobile’s network could be used by Google to create a nation-wide ISP (that likely/hopefully would remain net neutral regardless of how the FCC votes). While primary focus would be on data, voice options would still be available via VoIP offerings (VoLTE and VoWiFi). They could use it to augment their slow deploy of an actual Fiber to the Home network.

      T-Mobile’s recent LAA tests hit 741Mbps. If they could deploy that and other aggregation methods nation wide, they could be offering Fiber-like speeds. And in a few years, when 5G comes out, they should hopefully surpass the 1Gbps marker.

      Next gen Google WiFi units could be equipped with an LTE radio to access the network. Just stick your SIM card in and provide electricity and bam, your online. No need for a tech to come to your house to wire in a modem.

      Then Legere would be able to mock not only AT&T/Verizon/Sprint but also Comcast/Spectrum as well as any other ISPs out there… Especially once they start charging you more to visit Facebook, Netflix etc while Google charges one flat rate regardless of where you go online.

      • DKBNYC

        Google? No. Once Google gets bored of a thing it’s discontinued. Like the soon to use to be Google Fiber.

    • lomsha

      You would have to pry control of dish away from Charlie ergen’s dead cold fingers.

      • Acdc1a

        That’s the issue I see as well

  • Ross Stuart

    Makes more sense. A merger between T-Mobile and Sprint ultimately would just be T-Mobile devouring their spectrum and retooling their towers. Compared to T-Mobile, the Sprint brand is dead weight.

    In the hands of Comcast or Charter, however, that might be a different story.

  • Mike McDonald

    The Boss has been remarkably quiet here. He’s still tweeting but not about any of the competition. Don’t know exactly how to read that but I suspect there is some smoke since he didn’t go to the WH for the Tech Summit. Marcelo was there and was chatty about TMUS on CNBC but The Boss said “he was out of the country” so Mike Sievert & Neville Ray went in his place. I know the conventional wisdom is Sprint or Dish but I’d think Apple would be interested in breaking through the Last Mile problem they have. I’d think Apple buying T-Mobile worldwide would give them access to all those AppleTVs and iMacs, etc at home. Delivery of AppleMusic and other entertainment content via wireless bandwidth they control makes far better sense than worrying if ATT/Verizon start charging to access their network in the post-net neutrality world.

    • steveb944

      Apple? There’s zip to none chances on that as they haven’t ventured outside hardware and software.

      • slybacon

        And they are quiting their wireless router business

    • vrm

      And you can expect them to sell wireless service starting at $500/mo for exclusive customers with deep pockets (or those willing to sell organs for trinkets). It works for all their other products.

    • Mike

      Apples not getting into the wireless network game . Making cellphones is as close as Apple will go.

    • GersonT1000

      Your comment just gave me chills at the thought of hated Apple buying beloved T-Mobile.

  • (J²)

    I cannot speak on Comcast personally (because of the region I live in) but can say Charter Communications would most likely acquire Sprint through a line of credit (like they did with Bright House and Time Warner Cable) and pass along the expenses to customers.

    “Spectrum”, Charter’s brand of TV/Phone/Internet post-merger does not care about it’s customers. An executive even went as far to say he felt that Time Warner Cable offered way too many discounts and did not believe that loyal customers threatening to cancel should be given a special retention rate/promotion. Spectrum is also moving towards no longer offering promotions to existing customers at all.

    Also, I’m sure if one of these providers got a hold of a wireless carrier, they’d be more concerned with “Bundle & Save”, rather than competing with other carriers and fighting for customers.

    Sprint needs leadership. It does not need spectrum or any other “assets”. Unfortunately, what works in the TV/Phone/Internet business does not work in the Wireless business. Spectrum and Comcast do not compete – Sprint does.

    • steveb944

      Comcast is just as terrible, but they have deep pockets.
      Also, Sprint is trying to compete now, when it was #3 it hardly cared or tried.

    • Hurlamania

      My Spectrum it’s way better than TWC got 6x faster internet have every channel and pay standard price no Promotions and the bill is over $30 cheaper.

      • (J²)

        The faster internet speeds is something Time Warner Cable initiated and I believe it started in 2014. So any area that was made 300 down ready, would receive 300 down. Charter offered only 60 down at the close of the merger. The new “umbrella” company Spectrum advertises 100 down (unless you are in an area with faster speeds).

        It’s almost like Time Warner Cable’s Intelligent Home, it’s something that wasn’t available to Charter customers previously and now it’s being retooled for the umbrella company.

        Again, those were Time Warner Cable’s doings…

        As for your cheaper bill, yes, I’m not saying there are not cheaper packages available for Spectrum. Just on average (as announced by Spectrum) most customers will see an increase.

        Also, for those who were on one of Time Warner Cable’s soon to be discontinued promotions. The promotional price was intentionally set high to persuade customers to switch over to Spectrum.

        • Hurlamania

          I pay almost $15 less for internet I was paying for 20mbps lucky to get 10mbps now i get 75mbps
          spectrum has same type of promos as twc but for 3 years Lock. Box rates are cheaper packages have
          more channels for less

        • (J²)

          Which provided did you come from? Charter or Bright House?

          Unfortunately, this is not the case for Time Warner Cable customers.

          1) Existing customers are no longer eligible for the steep discounts on internet.
          2) We have 2 Tier “Basic TV” packages now. Certain odd channels are now considered “premium”
          3) Spectrum charges $4 for boxes. Previously, TWC customers could use DTA’s which were $2 – So now boxes are mandatory.
          4) Spectrum has done away with the cable modem fee but added a Wi-Fi fee of $8 (I believe that is the cost).
          5) Promotions no longer include equipment costs. So you are now paying for every TV.

          Spectrum offers a 1 year price lock if you are in promotion which is subject to change based on any price increase. In reality, there’s no lock. You are simply locked into that “bundle” for that term.

          Spectrum offers steep discounts to new customers only. Those who switched from Time Warner Cable do not get those.

          Cable/Internet/Home Phone is $140 under Spectrum and was previously $110 under Time Warner Cable. That’s a $30 increase and the best deal available.

          **This does not include any premium changes and it’s the lowest tier of internet they offered.

        • Hurlamania

          I came from TWC we have 3 packages standard, silver and gold boxes went from $13 to 4.99 modems went from 9 to free although i own my own and have my own router So i don’t need the $5 wifi I declined the discount package because i didn’t want phone got the gold package and internet and got still got a perm bundle discount and 5 boxes under $200 was paying way over $200 with TWC
          my friend got the phone bundle for 3 years promo with silver.
          60mbps it’s the only package they advertise buy they provision for 100mbps and it’s $53 bundled gold package that has everything all movie channels etc.. $104

      • notyourbusiness

        I also have Spectrum that used to be TWC. It sucks. We had an outage here for over 18 hours once last month, which is a joke. In fact, we had 3 outages in only 2 months, which is complete crap. With TWC, service was way better and outages were far and few between and lasted only 4 hours tops.

  • kev2684

    YES. Cable+Wireless makes more sense for both T-Mobile and Sprint.

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    Sprint is desperate

  • Paul Garrison

    Charter is straight garbage.

  • Cellphone Chris

    Not sure what Comcast’s play is here. They have a MVNO deal with Verizon that can go on in perpetuity. They’d be giving up the most compelling selling point (largest 4G LTE network and +15M WiFi hotspots) if they dumped that deal to go MVNO with Sprint.

    Cost savings may bring them to the table, but I don’t know if this pans out.

    • vrm

      Cable cos want to push cable services to rural areas and Verizon is not the partner who enables that. MVNOs are dime a dozen and they don’t wanna remain that. Sprint’s 2500 mhz band can accomplish what wimax could not.

  • lomsha

    Bye bye

  • Sharti24

    Sprint = trash

    • Mike

      Yeah Sprint has 5 lines for $100 that’s still too high for the service you’ll get. Before I switched from Sprint last year my iPhone 7 Plus stayed on 3G most of the time and when I got a LTE connection it was awful majority of the time with slow speeds.

  • Nobody Special

    Amazon + T-Mobile = Tamazon Mobile

  • vrm

    t-mobile’s best prospects for the future lies in continuing along in its current trajectory. They are doing very well as a business using any metric.

    IMO, cable services are about to become commodities. Google offers it at $35/mo with a comprehensive set of channels and Sony starts at $30/mo. All without any contracts. As more and more companies get in on the fray (Amazon, apple (though apple rarely leads to lower prices on ANYTHING), now facebook etc).

    What remains is connectivity and this is why the cable companies are eyeing sprint for its spectrum. Wide band spectrum is no longer the bottleneck with more unlicensed spectrum coming into use in the near future.

    So t-mobile doesn’t really need sprint; all it has to do to be well positioned is expand its network footprint. With that in place, it can incorporate new spectrum (including the unlicensed one) to increase bandwidth and offer third party services in partnerships. Increasing its network footprint is EXACTLY what they are doing.

    So, by not rushing to make deals with cable companies or content providers that involve money or control changing hands, t-mobile may actually have played the cards right all along !

  • donnybee

    Good. Those three companies deserve each other; literally the worst offerings in the industries. I’m guessing they think 3 wrongs make 1 right?

  • Mike

    Let’s not forget SoftBank has deep pockets and they bought Sprint in 2013 and they’re trying to offload Sprint already smh. Comcast will shut Sprint down and use the Spectrum for their own cellular business/ Xfinity Services IMO.

  • DKBNYC

    Gosh and holly crap! I was so looking forward to my T-Mobile service getting worse once we took over Sprint. Oh well. Guess I have to keep my pretty good service for a while longer. {Time to stream HBO go for the next 8 hours while I work}

    • Mike

      How would T-Mobile service get worse if they took over Sprint?

      • Phone Guy

        Much worse. Sprint runs a million sub networks such as Boost, Virgin, etc. etc. etc. on their network. It is so overloaded that while they offer LTE, its creepy slow. Too much strain on their network. Merge with T-Mobile and you would have too much strain on the new combined network and slower speeds.

        • Mike

          You’re forgetting the extra spectrum tmobile acquire from Sprint. Verizon LTE speeds are on par with T-mobile and they have more customers then T-mobile and Sprint combined.

        • George Kaplan

          Theyre also two completely different technologies, so its not that simple….Sprint runs on something called cdma, so do all its affiliates. Tmo is GSM. So, no service wouldn’t get worse. If anything it would be better for sprint customers and Tmo would have a lot more spectrum to play around with.

  • vinnyjr

    T-MOBILE was going to do Sprint a favor, id tell Sprint to screw. T-MOBILE doesn’t need Sprint at all.

  • VegasSmitty

    If a merger occurs there will be a mass exodus of T-Mobile folks.

  • George Kaplan

    Tmo getting all that spectrum would be great. Plus it would make it within striking distance of Verizon. Honestly if that could go through and if Comcast/Charter could have a partnership of some sorts, then it wouldn’t be so bad. Tmo could sell full package deals for internet and phone. Frankly you need both.