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Sprint rumored to prep T-Mobile acquisition bid

updated 05:02 pm EST, Fri December 13, 2013

Number three carrier could gobble up number four

Sprint is working toward a bid to purchase T-Mobile, according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal. The United States' third-largest wireless carrier is reportedly considering offering more than $20 billion for T-Mobile, which sits in fourth place but has been reinvigorated by a number of disruptive "UNcarrier" offerings. Those offerings have given T-Mobile a boost even as Sprint appears to have languished, with drops in subscriber totals and abysmal customer satisfaction ratings.

Sprint's possible bid would likely incur considerable scrutiny and possibly resistance from regulatory bodies in the United States. The move would leave Americans with three major carriers, and the three together would account for a sizable majority of wireless subscribers in the country.

The carrier - which was itself bought by Softbank earlier this year - has not decided whether to tender the offer. At issue is the aforementioned possibility of regulatory resistance. The Justice Department nixed AT&T's $39 billion bid for T-Mobile in 2011 due to antitrust concerns, and Sprint is wary of wasting its time on an effort that could have a similar end.

Executives from both Sprint and T-Mobile have argued that consumers would be well served by a merger between the two entities, as it would allow them the leverage to invest in their networks on a scale to compete with Verizon and AT&T. Combined, they would have a subscriber base of 53 million, still well behind Verizon's 95 million and AT&T's 72 million postpaid customers.

Should Sprint put forward a bid, it would likely see competition from other sizable corporate players. Dish Network which previously tried to buy Sprint, has also expressed interest in the possibility of buying T-Mobile. In mid-November, Dish Network Charlie Ergen said that a bid for the fourth-largest carrier was still on the table.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Keep in mind what someone with T-Mobile told me during the AT&T merger attempt. The Deutsche Telecom that owns T-Mobile would like to sell it and be done with it. That's why these other companies have come a courting with their billions.

    That is bad for consumers. With T-Moblie gone there'd be no real competition in the cellular market. All the other companies are quite happy with the status quo. They don't want change.

    I saw that recently when a move forced me to shift from T-Mobile to AT&T. Although they don't advertise it and only grudgingly brought it out, AT&T does have a plan that's virtually identical to my T-Mobile prepay. No T-Mobile would meant not having to do that.

  1. Chongo

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-16-07

    Sprint is CDMA, T-Mobile is TDMA. That's like Apple buying Gateway.

  1. PTPro225

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-19-10

    Having worked briefly at T-Mobile (USA), let me tell you that whoever buys T-Mobile will have to get rid of a lot of dead weight, especailly in marketing.

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