What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
Now that T-Mobile USA has succeeded in combining with MetroPCS, what could the next mega-mobile merger in the U.S. be?
Well obviously, Sprint has to bring its three-way with SoftBank Mobile and Dish Network Corp. to a happy ending while completing the total take-over of Clearwire LLC next. That's no small order in itself!
Verizon Communications Inc., meanwhile, could pay Vodafone Group plc tens of billions to have complete control of its wireless arm.
What happens after that, however, is a little bit murkier.
One long-term prospect is that Sprint could merge with T-Mobile. Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse didn't rule that out when asked about it in 2012.
I don't see that happening any time soon, though. Sprint and T-Mobile each face their own separate network integration challenges ahead with their current or planned partners and those are always more tricky in practice than on paper. Adding another massive network to the mix could stall the whole process.
It's even less likely that AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless could meld with either Sprint or T-Mobile. The failure of the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger in 2011 indicates that the government doesn't presently want to make the U.S. wireless scene any more of a duopoly than it already is.
I certainly expect them to span up more small regional carriers though to lock up more 4G bandwidth. The hunt for spectrum is an un-ending process and the big two hold the whip-hand there.
One outside possibility is that Google could get into the wireless service provider game. There has certainly been speculation on that in the past.
I don't really see the point of Google buying a pure-play wireless carrier. They have got what they needed -- a platform for mobile search revenues -- through the ascendancy of the Android operating system in that area.
I could see Google using its money trying to develop alternative high-speed wireless technologies such as white spaces in the future, much like the search giant is trying to push high-speed fiber in the U.S. Whether that's a build or buy situation is not obvious to me at this point.
Perhaps you have some thoughts on what's coming next for mobile M&A in the USA?
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile