T-Mobile-Sprint merger tidbits: Comcast won’t buy divested spectrum, C Spire supports deal

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There have been a lot of leaks, rumors, and speculation surrounding T-Mobile and Sprint’s merger this week, including one report that said that the DOJ wants the two carriers to help create a new, fourth U.S. carrier and a rumor claiming that Amazon may buy Boost Mobile. Now we’re winding down the week with some more tidbits related to the merger.

First up, Comcast says that it won’t be buying any spectrum that T-Mobile and Sprint may divest in order to get their merger approved. “We do not have an interest in acquiring divested spectrum from the Sprint [and] T-Mobile transaction,” a Comcast spokesperson told CNBC. Sources tell CNBC and Reuters that Comcast is also uninterested in buying Boost Mobile.

T-Mobile and Sprint have said that they’d divest Boost Mobile if their merger is approved. Rumors say that the two carriers may also divest some spectrum to help their odds of getting DOJ approval for the merger, and it’s expected that that spectrum would be used to help create a new competitive carrier.

Meanwhile, regional carrier C Spire Wireless has come out in support of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger after previously opposing it. “Our advocacy was limited to a narrow set of issues, and we are no longer concerned that those issues should prevent the transaction from being approved,” C Spire told Light Reading. C Spire previously argued that the merger would reduce the number of viable roaming partners.

Altice USA voiced its opposition to the merger this week, despite the conditions that T-Mobile and Sprint announced recently. In recent meetings with government officials, Altice said that “the proposed commitments offer nothing new to Altice given the terms of the existing wholesale agreement between Sprint and Altice.”

“While Altice welcomes T-Mobile reiterating its commitment to follow the terms of Sprint’s agreement with Altice, and including these commitments as conditions to merger approval enforceable by the Commission, neither of these commitments by T-Mobile address Altice’s concern about the anticompetitive impact of the merger on the wholesale market,” Altice went on to say in its filing with the FCC. The company goes on to say that the merger should be denied, even with the new conditions, because of “the harm to the wholesale market that will result from the merger.”

Altice’s opposition to the T-Mobile-Sprint merger is notable because rumors say the cable company is planning to launch an MVNO this summer that runs on the Sprint network and offers service at $20 to $30 per month. As part of their commitments tied to the merger’s approval, T-Mobile and Sprint have said that they’d retain Sprint’s MVNO agreement with Altice and that the New T-Mobile would engage in talks to expand that agreement to the New T-Mobile’s 5G network.

The T-Mobile-Sprint merger has gotten support from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, but it’s still undergoing an antitrust review by the DOJ.

Thanks, Ben!

Sources: CNBC, Reuters, Light Reading, FCC

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  • pda96

    So if no one is interested in Boost, then the merger is off?

    • SuperSt0rm

      We haven’t heard anything from U.S. Cellular as the nations 5th largest carrier they could be interested in both Boost and Spectrum.

      • gramps28

        They’re more interested in selling things off and removing they’re name off of
        sports arenas since they aren’t making it.

    • SirStephenH

      There are a few interested parties but New T-Mobile could always just spin Boost off into its own company if nothing happens on that front.

    • JStatt

      There are many interested buyers in Boost. The former founder had already said he would buy it at the right price. Why wouldn’t there be interest? You get a sweetheart roaming agreement on one of the largest carriers in the country so you don’t have to spend a fortune building out spectrum for the entire network, and then you get a pool of current customers along with a very attractive fire sale price.

    • jonzey231

      I’ll buy it for the right price.

  • marque2

    People need to publish or perish and so they make things up. Also sources in government enjoy being important so will make up leaks. I wouldn’t believe any of this stuff.

    Remember all the fake and made up leaks about Trump? See thing.

  • Combine Virgin Mobile and boost their two prepaid brands and spin it off as the fourth company or sell them both together

    • SirStephenH

      They’re too valuable as separate entities and they don’t have their own spectrum and cell network which are needed to operate as a fourth carrier.

  • Nearmsp

    There is no way the Justice department can say the merger will not reduce competition in the US wireless market. I personally believe under no circumstances should this deal be approved. There is a huge MVNO market that operates on Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile network. This is where the most damage will be done by the merger and generally lower income groups and students use these MVNO services. While T-mobile and Sprint customers will benefit from a larger network in the short term, in the long term, less competition means higher prices. Cell phone service costs a tenth of US prices in Asia. For example I can buy a 12 month service on Jio in India for $25. LTE data is 1.5 GB per day. Likewise in China the coverage plans for locals are very attractive. Same in Egypt etc. We are paying very high prices in the US already.

    • riverhorse

      1. How many foreigners are clamoring to be let into India and China? Even worse, this number won’t increase even if cellular suddenly were made free. It’s for a simple reason: libertarian capitalism simply works better overall for most things when balancing quality and price. And the more government sticks to only intervening to quash wrongdoing, the better everything works correctly, with good quality, in prosperous fashion.
      So be careful what you ask for, don’t chase away companies, investment, and invention.
      And dig deep, beyond the seemingly obvious, when forming opinion.
      The latest 5G results very telling: Verizon has at hand for it 400mhz band spectrum, TMO only 100.
      So your request will strengthen Goliath while weakening David.
      2. Your argument accuses the low priceno contractgrandfather forever leader of suddenly reversing course, when it has NEVER done so before through many corporate and new technology acquisitions. Where is the evidence to support your charge of to boot, only a potential possibility?
      On the contrary- because TMO grandfathers plans always, there are customers with plans from the ’90s-and that even better, periodically receive free additional features and upgrades.
      There is a real Santa Claus!
      3. What is this ” … we are going to pay more…”?
      Just get your unlimited plan, don’t ever let it lapse, and you’re set for life. Mine is over 10 years old, all set. I didn’t have the presence of mind to not let lapse the one from a quarter century ago, but lesson learned.
      4. If what you wish for is to be able to start and stop plans without losing promos, features, locked-in price… good luck with that.
      5. Not to interject politics or accuse you of leftism, but this is a perfect example of gimme activism causing unintended damage plus the opposite intended effect of inflated pricing. Potentially of course, in this case.
      6. Good opinions, like gold nuggets, require hard work & research, extensive thought, digging deep below the surface obvious.
      Easy quick answers culled from the too obvious surface might yield a real gold nugget here and there, but more often are a fool’s gold chase.