Rumors of a Sprint/T-Mobile Merger Again

Rumors of a Sprint and T-Mobile hook up are back on investors' minds this Wednesday.

Part of the reason may be that T-Mobile US Inc. has scheduled a press call with CEO John Legere Thursday, though they haven't specified a topic. "You will have the opportunity to ask executives questions on this call," the invitation says.

It should be noted that previous mergers in the telecom industry usually announce the deal plans first thing in the morning, then schedule a conference call after the news has broken. Legere, however, has prided himself on not being business as usual in what he described as a "broken, arrogant industry" and a "duopoly" on his Twitter feed Wednesday.

In fact, Legere has been asked about mergers and partnerships multiple times at press conferences and on conference calls. He's never ruled out the possibility.

Stitching together the T-Mobile 4G network with Sprint's 800MHz, 1900MHz, and 2.4GHz LTE network would be a fresh challenge for T-Mobile's CTO, Neville Ray, however. The CTO even alluded to the densification challenge Sprint faces with getting good coverage on its 2.5GHz spectrum on T-Mobile's recent earnings call.

"Unfortunately, for the Sprint folks, they are still trying to figure out how to effectively deploy 2.5GHz spectrum. It's a challenge of physics. It doesn't propagate that well," the CTO noted.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, reported Wednesday that Sprint's owner, SoftBank Corp. 's Masayoshi Son, still holds out hope for a merger.

Announcing a potential deal would definitely be interesting timing. Much could hang on who wins the November election in the US.

As I reported back in June, Hillary Clinton's plans for the tech industry largely build and extend on Obama era ideas. Republican nominee Donald Trump, however, is almost a blank space in regards to tech policy and his attitude to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) . (See Clinton Tech Plan Draws Sharp Contrast to Trump's Thinking.)

Of course, we've been here before: Sprint and T-Mobile dropped talks over a $32 billion merger in August 2014. (See Does T-Mobile Need Sprint to Scale?)

Still, let's not rule anything out, eh?

Shares of T-Mobile are trading up $0.11 -- or 0.24% -- at $46.35 on the speculation this afternoon. Sprint shares are still off though, trading down $0.08 -- or $1.24% -- at $5.98.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

DanJones 8/18/2016 | 7:19:48 PM
Re: Jim Mickey No merger, it was the Un-Carrier 12 press conference
Owner/Op24413 8/18/2016 | 10:39:14 AM
Jim Mickey If this merger goes through I would be curious to know what will happen to Jim Mickey, former executive of Sprint who now is employed by T-Mobile in a like position.  Jim Mickey was fired from Sprint in 2006 for using his position and influence to grant contracts to vendors in exchange for fiscal favors. Beware T-Mobile stock holders, I would not be surprised to know that this narcissist has carried his selfserving practice over to T-Mobile.
[email protected] 8/18/2016 | 3:44:58 AM
Re: Where is the money? And I'd say it is either now or never if it's to be in any way a successful merger.... they would need to merge now to get their ducks in a row for the next major network and services transition.
DanJones 8/18/2016 | 1:29:01 AM
Re: Where is the money? I don't know if this will happen, but if it does you might assume that T-Mobile is more in the driving seat this time around.
TV Monitor 8/17/2016 | 6:58:19 PM
Where is the money? Where does Masayoshi Son find money to buy T-Mobile?

He just blew $30 billion on ARM.
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