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Comcast Not Interested in T-MobileComcast Not Interested in T-Mobile

Despite reports in German magazine Manager Magazin, a source close to Comcast says giant US MSO has no interest in buying T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom.

Alan Breznick

June 18, 2015

3 Min Read
Comcast Not Interested in T-Mobile

It looks like Deutsche Telekom will have to look elsewhere for a proper suitor for its T-Mobile US unit.

Despite an earlier report in the German publication Manager Magazin that Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is now negotiating with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), the giant US MSO apparently has no intention of buying T-Mobile US Inc. While Comcast declined to comment on the report, a source close to the company said it has "no interest" in taking T-Mobile off Deutsche Telekom's hands. (See Comcast Reportedly Pursuing T-Mobile .)

The report about Comcast's interest in T-Mobile had sparked a rise in Deutsche Telekom's stock price Wednesday. The German telecom giant, which has also declined to comment on the Comcast report, has been seeking to unload its US properties in favor of a pan-European focus for months. Among other things, it reportedly plans to use the proceeds from the sale of its controlling 67% stake in T-Mobile to launch a takeover bid for UK fixed-line incumbent BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). (See Deutsche Telekom Plotting BT Takeover – Report.)

With Comcast seemingly out of the picture, Deutsche Telekom may be back to square one with T-Mobile. As reported earlier, the company is still talking to Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and other possible suitors about T-Mobile. But the on-and-off discussions with Dish, which seemed hot earlier this month, have apparently cooled again as Deutsche Telekom has sought more attractive, financially stronger suitors. (See Not So Fast on Dish/T-Mobile Deal, Analyst Says .)

For all the latest news from the wireless networking and services sector, check out our dedicated mobile content channel here on Light Reading.

The reports about Comcast's interest in T-Mobile picked up steam yesterday because, in many ways, a buyout of the spectrum-rich wireless carrier could make sense for Comcast, which has made no secret of its wireless ambitions. MSO executives are now crafting plans to launch some type of WiFi First mobile service that would rely on both WiFi and cellular networks to deliver calls and data to customers.

But Comcast -- which dropped its $45.2 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) in late April because of strong opposition from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice -- may well be wary of tackling federal regulators so soon again. Indeed, some Wall Street analysts have cautioned Comcast to "lay low" on the acquisition front for a while because of regulators' concerns, with one analyst going so far as to say that the MSO is in Washington's "penalty box" right now.

Comcast may also have no interest to paying top dollar for T-Mobile, which is now the third-biggest wireless provider in the US after surpassing Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) in subscribers earlier this year. That would be particularly true if MSO executives believe that WiFi networks, not cellular networks, will ultimately carry most of the nation's mobile traffic.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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