T-Mobile and Sprint reportedly in merger talks once again

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Last November, T-Mobile and Sprint confirmed that they’d ended their oft-rumored merger negotiations, and we thought that that’d be the end of that. It turns out that the two companies still want to get together, though.

T-Mobile and Sprint have restarted merger talks, according to sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal. Details on the negotiatons are light, as the sources say that T-Mo and Sprint are in preliminary talks. It’s possible that they could fail to reach an agreement.

Early merger negotiations between T-Mobile and Sprint have also been reported by Bloomberg, whose sources say that executives from SoftBank (Sprint’s largest shareholder) and Sprint have had contact with Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile’s parent company) about a possible deal. Also of note is that SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges told investors this week that they’d be open to talking about a merger.

This marks the third time that T-Mobile and Sprint have shown interest in merging. The two companies reportedly came close to a deal in late 2017 but the talks ultimately fell through, with T-Mo CEO John Legere saying that any deal “will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile’s shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance and track record.”

The current situations of T-Mobile and Sprint aren’t terribly different from what they were last fall. While T-Mobile is comfortably in third place among U.S. carriers with more subscribers than Sprint, though, T-Mo would probably be interested in Sprint’s spectrum.

We’ll just have to wait and see if T-Mobile and Sprint can come to an agreement this time around. Even if they do strike a deal, which would likely take some time since talks are still preliminary right now, the agreement would be subject to regulatory review.

What do you make of these latest merger talks between T-Mobile and Sprint? Do you think that they’ll finally get a deal done this time?

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg

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  • Sean sorlie

    The article hits the nail on the head. T-Mobile is in a very good position and doesn’t need to give on much. If its not completely favorable to T-Mobile, its not going to happen.

  • The Borg

    Seriously

    • Sean sorlie

      you will be assimilated. Resistance is futile… Had to

  • TJ OConnor

    #DUMBESTMERGEROFTHEYEAR

  • DannyMac

    They’re like two horny teenagers that we told not to go into the back bedroom with the door closed. They break up, but then you find out they’re back together because you caught them both in the back bedroom with the door closed! Sprint’s no longer allowed in the house! T-Mobile will probably hate me for a while, but they’ll get over it.

  • KMB877

    It is worth-ed? Just a few thoughts:

    The Sprint’s market value is about 34 billion (at the end of 2016) and has roughly 50 million customers. Softbank expects to get about $8/share, increasing the acquisition cost to 45 billion.
    No discussion about, a 50 million subscribers will be a great addition for T-mobile, but this will cost $900 each one!

    Technically, extra 50 million subscribers will suffocate the network (let’s not forget when AT&T started to sell iPhones in 2007).

    On the other hand, T-mobile needs a lot of money to build the 4G/5G on 600 MHz, and to recover financially after the 8+ billion spent for the band 71 acquisition…

    Why AT&T and Verizon are not interested in Sprint?

    • Sean sorlie

      They are not interested because regulators wouldn’t approve it.

  • Francisco Peña

    as long as sprint isn’t in charge…

  • Durandal_1707

    Die! Die! Die! Die! Die die die die die die die!

    What do we need to do, drive a stake through this thing’s heart? Cut its head off? Why won’t it stay dead?

  • Arysyn

    Will the third time be the charm? I hope so, if T-Mobile remains in charge of pricing and the network, at least. Sprint’s spectrum here in Chicago would be helpful to T-Mobile in this area.

  • det_b

    TMo and Dish would be a dream! Make it happen…

  • Dummy Up Meathead

    Ugh….

  • Sukru Tikves

    The current financial state of Sprint is not very good. Basically they have negative financial value:
    https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/S/balance-sheet?p=S

    When T-Mobile merges with Sprint, they would merge with a net -30 billion value, meaning they would lose 30 billions, excluding any other payments made for the actual deal.

    Spring is slightly cashflow positive:
    https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/S/cash-flow?p=S

    However it would take take literally hundeds of thousands of years to pay for that debt with Sprint’s income. That basically means it won’t be.

    The only other outcome then would be T-Mobile paying for Sprint’s current liabilities, which means either eating into any T-Mobile assets and cash deposits, or “extracting” higher profits from current subscribers (i.e.: worse service and/or higher prices).

    This is why I would oppose such a merger as a T-Mobile customer. It would make much more sense to let Sprint fail, and join the bankruptcy auction at much better prices.

    • KMB877

      Hello Sukru,

      I’m glad we are both on the same page, look below to my post.

  • Ty Christensen

    Fake news once again, next.

  • Jason

    I will say what I said last time: The government should absolutely block this. It results in a tangible and substantial reduction in competition and therefore is illegal as per federal and antitrust law. Quoting the Clayton Antitrust Act which is federal law:

    “No person engaged in commerce or in any activity affecting commerce shall acquire, directly or indirectly, the whole or any part of the stock or other share capital and no person subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission shall acquire the whole or any part of the assets of another person engaged also in commerce or in any activity affecting commerce, where in any line of commerce or in any activity affecting commerce in any section of the country, the effect of such acquisition may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly.”

    It is unambiguously illegal as per the law because it does substantially reduce competition in not just one section of the country but multiple sections.

    • squiggleslash

      The counterargument is that Sprint PCS and T-Mobile are not, currently, competitors to AT&T or Verizon, that they each lack the resources to challenge them. Merging would therefore create a competitor against a duopoly, not lose one in a four way competition that doesn’t really exist.

      • Jason

        That simply isn’t true. It isn’t arbitrary. There are finite metrics for measuring competition on a per market basis used by the Justice Department. T-Mobile and Sprint are competitors in the larger market in virtually every market.

        • squiggleslash

          If it isn’t true, then explain why both Verizon and AT&T are able to charge roughly twice as much as either Sprint or T-Mobile for what on paper appears to be the same service?

          You are proposing that all that’s needed for a company to be a competitor is for them to operate in the same regions. That’s… actually very, very, arbitrary. T-Mobile is seen, rightly or wrongly, as having poor reception in most markets, with large numbers of black spots outside of cities, and poor reception within buildings. That’s true of Sprint too.

          If a would-be competitor is not being seen by the public as being capable of operating a competing service, it isn’t a competitor. I’ll accept that T-Mobile is a competitor to Verizon the day Verizon either has fewer customers, or has similar or cheaper rate plans. As long as Verizon is able to maintain a massive market share advantage despite charging double, clearly they’re not even in the same market.

  • frankinnoho

    I don’t care anymore. Do it! T-Mobiles network has already gone to shit around here (Reno). Used to be able to get 45Mbs 24 hours a day. Now somedays you can’t even make a phone call, let alone get bandwidth. And now there clog the already strained network with 50 million more of the worse phone customers ever from the worse network ever. Well, at least with ATT I can get a discount on DirecTv ;)

  • frankinnoho

    I don’t care anymore. Do it! T-Mobiles network has already gone to hell around here (Reno). Used to be able to get 45Mbs 24 hours a day. Now somedays you can’t even make a phone call, let alone get bandwidth. And now they’re going to clog the already strained network with 50 million more plebs from the worse network ever. Well, at least with ATT I can get a discount on DirecTv ;)

    • KMB877

      frankinnho,
      It’s even worst! Beside the 50 millions, we have to consider all Sprint MVNOs, like Boost, Virgin, Straight Talk, Republic Wireless, Project Fi, etc, etc. I’m guessing an other 25 millions…

    • SirStephenH

      It’s not like they’re just buying Sprint’s customers. They’ll bring their spectrum with them too and T-Mobile would be able to make far better use of it than Sprint ever has.

      Still against losing a national carrier though.

  • Nearmsp

    When AT&T wanted to buy T-Mobile the main argument was that T-mobile would ultimately go bankrupt being the weakest of the big four and jobs would be lost. Well that is history. Since that deal was rejected by FCC, T-mobile has taken market share from both AT&T and Verizon. Mr. Son of Softbank Japan, overpaid for Sprint and his CEO has failed to overcome the poor service and continuous loss of customers and now wants to make whole his investment. But American customer should not be punished for reckless investment decisions of Mr. Son. The four pillar policy to maintain a minimum of 4 major wireless providers for the US wireless market should be maintained. As it is, Americans may the highest monthly wireless fees for so less data. Reducing competition will lead to even higher prices. The FCC and FTC must kill this crony capitalism at the first opportunity. Let Mr. Son sell out to to the Mexican or Spanish or Indian wireless company if he wants to sell Sprint.

    • dcmanryan

      Well said .

    • Richard Finzel

      Well said, but the FCC is not the same under the Trump administration. The chairman would likely let this one go through because it would “strengthen business” in the US

      • dtam

        “strengthen business” is a nice way of saying “screw the consumer”

    • Rosario

      Very true, but dont forget that the breakup fee Tmobile got really helped them turn things around and invest money they didnt have before. The merger not going through was the best thing to happen to the whole industry. I dont see neither side having a breakup fee in place but Sprint wants to maintain “Sprint” and Tmobile wants to be “Tmobile”. I dont see how they can come to an agreement unless Sprint caves.

    • Trevnerdio

      The only reason it’s so much more expensive in America is because all 4 major carriers offer nationwide coverage, and it ain’t cheap to cover mountains, deserts, valleys, plains, and densely populated metro areas!

      • Clifton K. Morris

        That’s partially true. But the problem is that it was AT&T and Verizon whom secured most of the leases. For the most part, T-Mobile and Sprint heavily relied on adding their equipment to AT&T and Verizon’s structures.

        It wasn’t until AT&T and Verizon gave up control of their tower leases to a third-party management company (American Tower and SBA) did T-Mobile have access to every tower AT&T and Verizon ever built.

        Essentially, T-Mobile grew something of a welfare mentality, and was looking for a second handout (similar to the AT&T $2B breakup fee). Lobbyists from Germany also pressured US regulators toto make actionable industry-wide changes related to competition and the business model.

  • I’m smashing my head into a hot cup of coffee this is outrageous.

  • DKBNYC

    Farmers can pretty much plant their crops by the timing of these stories.

  • KMB877

    I don’t think T-mobile could be interested into Sprints band 25, 26 and 41 anymore after they spent 8+ billions for band 71 acquisition. Also, the CDMA (2D) and CDMA2000 (3G) has no future in the USA, the equipment will be useless. As I understood, T-mobile is not interested into Sprints logistics, and it make sense.

    • Phil7474

      No Sprint has a massive amounts of high band spectrum stashed that could benefit t-mobile 5g network investment. Sprint’s high band (2.5GHz) spectrum paired with t-mobile’s low and midband spectrum would drastically improve t-mobile’s network performance.

    • ericdabbs

      I do like Sprint’s PCS and 2.5GHz spectrum holdings. Those will be very valuable in combining Tmobile’s current PCS holdings to make most of the country 20×20 LTE carrier on PCS spectrum. The 2.5 GHz treasure trove of high band spectrum is exactly what Tmobile would need to deploy a great 5G network. Sprint’s 800 MHz is meh. I mean if it has to spend a lot of money to maintain the 800 MHz spectrum then its probably not worth the effort unless they use it CA with say PCS spectrum.

      However I still would like to see 4 carriers just for the consumer choice. But if Sprint were to be scooped up then I prefer Tmobile to gobble them up and make use of its network resources.

    • SirStephenH

      Band 25 supersedes band 2 so T-Mobile could likely deploy it with a software patch like they did with band 66, band 41 would be great for 5G, and they’d likely sell of band 26 although it’d be nice to have a little bit more low band spectrum with CA.

  • Sharti24

    I see this merger happening. Sprint wants out but for the right price. Tmobile would love the new customers and of course the spectrum. Tmobile would finally be able to compete with the duopoly

    • Jason

      The question isn’t whether or not they try to make it happen, it is how it’s blocked after. It will be blocked either by the Justice Department, the FCC, or individual states. There isn’t a chance in hell in a midterm election year.

      • SirStephenH

        Look who’s running the FCC and the Justice Department now and days though…

      • (J²)

        It would probably be approved realizing that the alternative could mean that Sprint goes under and/or has to make a sale to another entity which could see a loss of usable spectrum exit the market for carriers.

        AT&T and Verizon are too big but the FCC and DOJ have been very lenient with T-Mobile and Sprint as they aren’t big enough to be a huge concern.

        I mean, they did recently approve a Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable tie up.

        It’s kinda obvious, anything to keep AT&T and Verizon (and Comcast) from getting bigger… It becomes a game of “Would you rather” lol

    • (J²)

      Sprint doesn’t just want out for the right price, Sprint wants to be in partial control of the combined company which is why previous deals fell through. It presents too much of a risk for T-Mobile and DT’s upward trajectory.

      Hopefully, this time around Sprint is willing to give up its hopes for power for the good of consumers to ensure their spectrum stays in good hands. If T-Mobile and Sprint merge, it’s really game over for AT&T and Verizon. No longer can they charge a premium, no longer can they make the argument or being better. It will be an all out active competition which would be good for consumers.

      Right now, AT&T and Verizon have so many business users they are comfortable and are only willing to compete with T-Mobile a little bit. A combined company would lead to a strong, fast and reliable network which is what businesses actually demand. The problem is, most companies do not care about cost! This is why T-Mobile and Sprint have failed to attract a lot of business customers.

      • Clifton K. Morris

        T-Mobile and Sprint are not seen as “viable” options for business customers. There’s no way to obtain other business-class services. No landline options, no option for directory listings (last I checked, all cell phone numbers are unlisted).

        Good luck using a T-Mobile as a service provider to reliably provide service to an office of 10-50 people. The visual of 20 office workers in cubes trying to connect to download email and setup a skype call before the cell tower fills up, and the account’s data speeds are de-prioritized during busy hours is quite funny. Granted, it would make for a great Saturday Night Live Skit, but that’s about it.

        • (J²)

          Most companies use VoIP phones now and do not bundle their internet and cell phone contractors.

          My company gives employees a choice of Verizon, AT&T or Sprint. Employees can choose to bring their own device or choose a fairly recent android or iPhone option.

          We also, if I recall correctly use Spectrum and AT&T.

          I know it may be easier to assume that that T-Mobile doesn’t stand a chance but that just wouldn’t be true.

          To be clear, we are talking about cellular service. There’s nothing preventing companies from mixing and matching.

          If I had to take an educated guess, T-Mobile will start chipping away at business market share in 2020.

        • M42

          Your example os so 1999. No longer applicable.

  • SirStephenH

    Ugh, again? How many times has it been? I’ve lost count.

    I wish they’d just merge with Dish and stop all this Sprint talk. Dish’s spectrum is more complimentary anyways.

    • O. L. Jackson

      TRUE. But Sprint have coverage in certain rural areas

      • M42

        So does AT&T, Verizon and US Cellular. BTW, US Cellular is a much better match for a merger with Sprint because their networks are compatible whereas T-Mobile’s isn’t.

        • O. L. Jackson

          Agreed. My sis in NC have US Cellular. It’s still isnt too late for that.

  • The Bloomberg article quoted here is from May 2017.

  • Joe2050

    Having 3 carriers is not in the best interest of consumers, given the GOP controls pretty much the whole country I believe they are trying to give it another shot. Either way, this is not good and should be stopped. If T-Mobile/Sprint merged or T-Mobile acquired Sprint it would still be 3 carriers with less competition.

    • Clifton K. Morris

      I have to disagree. Three carriers would actually be a great option.

      The process of completely eliminating a foreign-owned carrier would assist in re-solidifying what 5G wireless technology is.

      Right now, companies like Verizon and AT&T are willing to invest in future networks while people in Germany and across the EU is trying to figure out if there is even a market for advanced LTE networks.

      It all comes down to decisions made several years ago. So, when EU crisis was occurring, and people were fleeing countries, the US was on more stable footing. FCC and policy makers were creating new investment opportunities for broadband. There’s no reason for customers in the US to be Timotheus Hodge-podged because of EU has to gain consensus.

      • M42

        Foreign company? Who do you think owns T-Mobile?

  • O. L. Jackson

    Hopefully the third time is the charm. Then Xfinity Mobile will move in the 4th spot. Tmobile also needs to look into DISH as well

    • Clifton K. Morris

      I went to a Cable next-generation technology conference last month and DishNetwork has already started building towers for their network.

      The problem with DishNetwork is that they have Government Contracts. Due to Federal Acquisition Laws with the Department of Defense, DishNetwork would need to acquire T-Mobile. Department of Defense can’t award contracts to foreign-owned companies.

      Considering T-Mobile US’s ownership is primarily from two sources-Deutsche Telekom (Still partially owned by The German Government) and also KfW, which is the German Governement-Owned Investment Bank, it’s a huge hurdle. If Goldman Sachs was owned by the Government, in the same way the US Post Office is owned by the US Government, the ownership structure would be something similar.

      So Deutsche Telekom would have to float the stock, payback Germany’s central investment bank, and also Germany’s taxpayers.

      Still- Americans in general should be amazed that wireless services are so expensive in comparison to the rest of the world, so 1/2 of the national US carriers (Sprint and T-Mobile) are owned by overseas companies, including taxpaying public located in foreign lands.

      • O. L. Jackson

        Appreciate the information my friend.

    • macman37

      I hope that you know if you hadn’t already learned that Xfinity Mobile uses Verizon Wireless’s Prepaid Network. Verizon’s Prepaid and their Postpaid Coverage are basically identical. Both T-Mobile and Sprint will have to wait until T-Mobile Activates their 600MHz spectrum before their reception for long distance and obstacle penetration gets to the point of your wish. That will be nationwide in a couple to a few years from now. Keep in mind that buying reception and activating it in an area are 2 different things. This is why we read some comments from past articles on this very own site about why some T-Mobile subscribers complaining about why the 700Mhz spectrum in their area is not yet activated.

      • O. L. Jackson

        Who was talking to you shill.
        Always got to a troll who thinks theyre the smartest jackass in the room. go suck on a phallus lol

  • TaskForce141

    This is sort of like a pretty girl (T-Mo) getting hitched to an prison escapee/ murderer she met at a bar (Sprint).
    Don’t do it….you can’t change him for the better. He’s a loser!

  • M42

    Decreasing competition in any market is never good for the consumer. Just look at what’s happened in the airline industry. With all the mergers you have higher prices, worse customer service and fewer routes. T-Mobile and Sprint have incompatible networks so merging the two companies will be like mixing oil and water and hoping for a nice cream sauce.

  • macman37

    John Legere,

    Look out and beware of what Sprint is really after – Sprint wants you to share a good to great portion of that 600 MHz Spectrum that you just won for nationwide coverage. They already have a good idea that this acquisition/merger will not be approved; and they want you to give them a good portion of that 600 MHz Spectrum as the break-up fee – just like AT&T had to do with some of their spectrum when they tried acquire T-Mobile. Losing any of that spectrum is not worth it. Let Sprint die from their lousy ownership of SoftBank and their dipshit management. End this now or ASAP before they have written as part of the deal if this does not go through. You have made great strides to lose any of what you have gained or improved upon.