Light Reading

What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?

Dan Jones

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

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
6/4/2013 | 7:05:25 PM
re: What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
Everyone here sees the Dish/sprint/clearwire/sofbank as an either/or deal. It could be that Dish is happy with Clearwire, or even just a portion of it. They need some sort of infrastructure to base their network on, and it is possible that Sprint could scrape up a package of towers/spectrum/network from their Clear/sprint/Nextel networks. There is plenty of overlap between the networks in many parts of the country.

The Sprint and Nextel networks pretty much overlapped across the county. If Sprint took the Nextel network, tossed in some Clear/sprint spectrum, towers, Switches, data centers, etc, Dish, could have the start of a very comprehensive network. Add their own spectrum, and maybe some combination of Leap/US cellular/Cspire/others, they could cobble together very nearly nationwide. They are very well-funded, and Charlie Ergen thinks big. What do you think?
Asael Delgado
Asael Delgado,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/13/2013 | 4:19:19 PM
re: What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
PERFECT! I could not of said it better myself!
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/11/2013 | 1:45:55 AM
re: What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
But the big players don't want "those" customers. You are talking low margin customers and those low margin customers would then have access to a much faster network. Their data usage would go up , making those slim margins even slimmer.

Sure the carriers would like the spectrum, but not at that cost. if the Leap/Cricket network is just congested in areas, your net spectrum add is a negative. When users are seeing dial-up speeds, the network is at 100%. if someone could buy Leap/Cricket and just shut the network down, then the spectrum makes sense. The next issue, Leap/Cricket and MetroPCS for the most part are using 5MHz channels whereas the big players are using 10MHz. That doesn't really help the big players unless that spectrum falls right next to what they currently have.

Maybe the answer is that the big players all put money into the hat to buy certain areas to get spectrum that suits them and whatever is leftover they sell?
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/10/2013 | 3:03:50 PM
re: What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
Leap would make sense as additional spectrum for an existing network not as a standalone network.
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/10/2013 | 5:19:53 AM
re: What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
Leap has the slowest network out there though. In some areas it could take an hour for a text message or data speeds were that of dial-up. So if someone bought them, what do they get? They get low paying customers and moving them to your network is just going allow them to use more of their unlimited data. I cannot see Verizon interested in them at all. Sprint/Dish/Clear/Soft will all be busy. If Dish doesn't get Sprint, then maybe they will be interested.
User Rank: Light Beer
5/7/2013 | 9:25:12 PM
re: What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
I think Sprint fights off Dish for Clear, and DISH has to look around for another carrier to form a core of a nationwide network. U.S. Cellular, Cspire, leap are all candidates.
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/7/2013 | 1:44:44 AM
re: What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
I think T-Mobile will attempt to take out Leap and US Cellular whose spectrum assets align with the MetroPCS assets and largely fill the hole in the MetroPCS national spectrum map puzzle. They pretty much have to wait until they swallow MetroPCS which will be a bit of a challenge but will also be a practice run for other CDMA carriers, something that Verizon has done a few times in the opposite direction..
Matthew Prendergast
Matthew Prendergast,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/6/2013 | 1:46:04 PM
re: What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
I see softbank and sprint merging just fine. Dish will be mad but will merge with T-mobile, since T-mobile loves advertising there T-mobile tv apps.If Dish and t-mobile do not merge then I think that would leave dish and google to join forces, forcing t-mobile to scoop up regional carriers or until centurylink comes to its senses and buys t-mobile and stops relying on verizon for wireless. There is an offshoot though that after vodafone sells its half to verizon, they will buy t-mobile just to compete in the US markets. Doubtful but possible.
User Rank: Blogger
5/6/2013 | 1:40:12 PM
re: What's the Next Mega-Mobile Merger in the US?
What about Leap Wireless? It's going to have a real tough time competing, especially now that T-Mobile owns MetroPCS. It's a candidate for acquisition.
More Blogs from Jonestown
SpiderCloud might try for an IPO in 2016. And there may be potential for a buyout too.
Hey there, Philly, NYC & D.C. Guess what? The popemobile could crash your mobile phone service during Francis's visit to the US.
Happn takes location-based dating to a whole new level -- maybe a level too far.
Tech IPOs could suffer if stock market losses prove to be more than just jitters.
Cellphones and rollercoasters don't mix.
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Dunroamin'
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 10/2/2015
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cisco's Chambers Rules Out Political Bid
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/6/2015
Infinera Fleshes Out Its Metro 100G Story
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/7/2015
AT&T Gets Green Light for VoWiFi
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/7/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here