Home - , , , , - Potential T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Talk on Hold as Sprint Starts Discussions with Charter/Comcast

Potential T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Talk on Hold as Sprint Starts Discussions with Charter/Comcast

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The last few months have seen numerous reports stating that two of the biggest wireless carriers in the United States -- T-Mobile and Sprint -- are pursuing negotiations for a possible merger. According to a recent report published by the Wall Street Journal, however, it appears that those talks are put on hold, because Sprint is currently engaging in exclusive discussions with Charter and Comcast (with both cable companies negotiating as one party).

This exclusive deal with Sprint is said to be backed by John Malone (whose Liberty Broadband is the largest stakeholder in Charter) and Brian Roberts (the current chief executive officer of Comcast). As reported by the WSJ, Charter and Comcast are negotiating to have the right of first refusal when it comes to acquiring Sprint.

Among the Big Four carriers in America, Sprint is considered the fourth biggest behind Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile. But industry watchers would be quick to point out that Sprint considerably owns more spectrum assets compared to any one of its rivals. With 5G wireless technology about to become a reality by the end of the decade, carriers and even cable companies like Charter and Comcast would want to gain access to high-band airwaves, such as those owned by Sprint.

It is quite possible that instead of acquiring Sprint outright, Charter and Comcast may be looking to strike a reseller agreement with the major US carrier. The two biggest cable companies in the country actually already have the right to resell mobile services using spectrum from Verizon Wireless. Comcast, in fact, had debuted its Xfinity Mobile service last April thanks to an MVNO agreement it had signed with the Big Red a while back.

As for Sprint, it may boast a wealth of spectrum, but it also needs capital to properly roll out the infrastructure needed to fully take advantage of its extensive spectrum holdings. SoftBank, the majority shareholder of Sprint, has provided capital to the carrier, and Charter and Comcast may also be looking to do the same.


Source: RCR Wireless

19 comments:

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  1. This is how "bad to worse" happens. Sprint can screw up a one-car funeral, Comcast can cause said one-car funeral.

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  2. combine losing strategies....

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  3. Seems good to me. We consumers benefit from 4 competitors.

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    1. "Seems good to me. We consumers benefit from 4 competitors."

      Maybe, maybe not. Over the years as we have lost and consolidated wireless carriers, the prices have plummeted and what you get for your dollar (in terms of data quantity, data speed, minutes, and coverage) has soared.

      There's no good reason to think this would change.

      Besides, Sprint is in a league of its own now, and it's decidedly bush league. T-Mobile is moving up to join the duopoly, and Sprint finds itself sitting between in no-man's land between the Big 3 and US Cellular, and really isn't providing anything that competes in a meaningful way now.

      And, looking at how they have been bungling and mishandling everything for years, there is no reason to believe they will ever radically change course and start to actually offer a competitive product.

      In other words, there have been three competitors fighting over their share of the US national wireless market for a few years now. Sprint isn't even bothering to participate, has no plans to, and taking them off the board would make no difference.

      Unless someone mistakes Sprint (only a third as good as Verizon) simply advertising that they are 99% as good as Verizon as meaningful competition.

      I'd rather see something worthwhile done with Sprint's languishing resources and have them help T-Mobile move up to complete parity with Verizon and AT&T quicker, and in a more effective fashion, then have Comcast/Charter pump just enough interest and money into Sprint to keep the "Zombie Carrier" shambling on for another decade, doing little good to anyone.

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      TLDR: We only have 3 competitors now.

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    2. After Sprint shut down WIMAX, their network improved a lot in my area. Sprint is competitve here and in many other locations.

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    3. @ Jun 28 at 2:55am
      You type a lot but have no idea what you're talking about. Just look at the plans from T-Mobile and Sprint and their prepaid brands. It's obvious they're competing with each other on price. Boost and MetroPCS offer almost the exact same plans which also happen to include the cheapest unlimited data plans in the country. If one of those two competitors goes away the remaining provider has no reason to keep prices down. So instead of two cheap providers and two overpriced ones like we have today, we end up with three overpriced providers none of which bothering to compete on price.

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    4. No, T-Mobile is competing with Verizon and AT&T. Sprint doesn't make a difference. T-Mobile is on a different plane of existence from Sprint.

      They used to be "of a kind", but T-Mobile decided it didn't want to be stuck in 2007 anymore.

      "Boost and MetroPCS offer almost the exact same plans"

      Rather untrue. Thanks to T-Mobile expansion, MetroPCS now has twice the coverage of Boost. So even when the prices are the same, Metro is giving customers twice as much for the money: the difference between the plans is huge* There's no comparison (and it is clear that, except for the recent "one year for free" type offers, everything from Sprint is rather overpriced relative to the product.)

      * = If you aren't comparing plans on price, data amount, data speed, minutes, text total AND coverage, you simply aren't bothering to compare plans

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    5. "So instead of two cheap providers and two overpriced ones..."

      That is an entirely ignorant and uninformed opinion. Instead of being 'overpriced', with those two you pay a lot more and get a lot more.

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    6. What TMo is doing right is generating good press for themselves, despite still having a crud network. They've expanded a lot, but only up to the point of parity with Sprint. Everywhere I get 1 bar with Sprint, I have 1 bar with TMo too. That's true at home, on the freeways, and practically everywhere I've been. Admittedly, sometimes it's 3G on Sprint, but that can be as fast as a weak LTE signal, so it's still a wash. TMo only has slightly more customers than Sprint. The trajectory looks bad, and the lousy management looks bad as Sprint intentionally sabotages itself to ripen up for a merger, but TMo is still competing hard against Sprint, and would surely let prices climb without them around to undercut. That goes for MVNO pricing as well... Tello wouldn't have such excellent prices without Sprint around. And if nothing else, they're the only one giving devices public IPv4 addresses, which allows incoming connections to your hotspot.

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  4. This is the best option for Sprint. I am glad the T-Mobile merger has been taken off the table. We need 4 wireless carriers.

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  5. So if Comcast moves forward with Sprint, what's going to happen to the existing Xfinity Mobile customers on Verizon?

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    1. They get to "enjoy" their transition to the nation's worst cellular network.

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    2. I'm not surprised Comcast isn't happy paying Verizon for network access over the long term. It'll probably cost them less to put Xfinity customers on the Sprint network with roaming on Verizon.

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  6. I cannot believe anyone wants to buy this dead horse.

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  7. Just when Sprint's about to be redeemed as spare parts for a winning carrier, this shit has to go and happen.

    Just put Old Yellow out of its misery already, so we can finally stop beating a long dead horse.

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  8. This is great news! Maybe Comcast can kill Sprint ! I kept worrying about them messing up T-Mobile, which I really like!

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  9. If this new Comcast/Charter entity can buy both Sprint and all the spectrum that Dish owns they could build a great new 5G network. And Comcast is one of the few companies with the money to do it. Maybe Comcast has realized it's only a matter of time before cable TV is no longer a viable business.

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  10. Comcast is going to make Sprint great again!! This is huge!!

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