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T-Mobile CFO on Trump: Expect More Consolidation & More Competition

Dan Jones
12/5/2016

T-Mobile's CFO says he expects there will be increased consolidation in the US mobile industry once the Trump administration takes office in 2017, even as more new and different entrants get into the wireless business.

T-Mobile US Inc. 's finance boss Braxton Carter was talking Monday morning at the 44th Annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. The CFO is definitely expecting to see less regulation and a lower corporate tax rate from President Trump. (See Cisco Execs on Trump: Cautiously Optimistic.)

"It's hard to imagine that there's not going to be more openness to consolidation," Carter told the financial analysts at the UBS event, although Trump said in October that he would attempt to block the proposed $4.5 billion AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) merger. So openness to M&A might very well depend on the nature of the companies that want to combine. (See AT&T to Buy Time Warner for $85.4B.)

Nonetheless, Carter is expecting that Trump will be a new broom in the mobile operator business in the US. "It's hard to imagine with the way the election has turned out... that this is not going to be more positive for my industry," he said.

Carter, however, stressed that change was coming to the mobile business whatever the election result, particularly with the cable companies looking at getting in on the action in 2017. In years to come, he suggested, "We'll sit back and just chuckle at the idea that there would only be 4 major players [in wireless, in the US]."

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Charter Communications Inc. have said they'll use the Verizon Wireless network to offer their customers own-brand 4G LTE wireless services. (See Cable's Chance to Get Mobile Right.)

Carter thinks this is just a first step and eventually cable companies will start to build -- or buy -- their own wireless infrastructure. "The only way you're going to get deep integration is by owning and controlling what you're doing."

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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kq4ym
kq4ym
12/17/2016 | 4:36:56 PM
Re: 4 players
It still seems to me that we're still in the speculation mode until another six months to a year goes by to see if the expectation "to see less regulation and a lower corporate tax rate" comes to be fact. There's probably going to be even more surprises in regulation or not as time goes by and agencies get their rules more firmly settled.
DanJones
DanJones
12/6/2016 | 2:30:44 PM
Re: 4 players
Well, yeah, that's why I wrote the story this way, it kind of stood out.
mendyk
mendyk
12/6/2016 | 1:59:34 PM
Re: 4 players
CFOs tend to do very well no matter what, as long as they can avoid jail time. The companies they are responsible for are a different story. If the financial types that heard this speech didn't question it, then I'd wonder about the collective wisdom that was in that room.
DanJones
DanJones
12/6/2016 | 11:53:45 AM
Re: 4 players
Well, its possible that he's just like, hey, I'm going to do veeeeerrrrry well out of this situation.
mendyk
mendyk
12/5/2016 | 4:30:45 PM
Re: 4 players
It's kind of hard to figure out what he's assuming. The whole more consolidation and more competition thing is outside the realm of logic.
DanJones
DanJones
12/5/2016 | 2:40:09 PM
Re: 4 players
I don't think he's assuming that cable companies won't buy their way in.
DanJones
DanJones
12/5/2016 | 2:38:21 PM
Re: 4 players
Maybe he's banking on a population boom under Trump?
mendyk
mendyk
12/5/2016 | 2:34:26 PM
Re: 4 players
In a post-factual world, I suppose there can be both more competition AND more consolidation. And if we can grow the market share pie to 150%, then there would be room for more than four major competitors. So it's all very possible.
DanJones
DanJones
12/5/2016 | 2:31:59 PM
Google
Carter didn't mention Google but they have to be seen as one of the other possible entrants. They're testing 3.5GHz radios with Nokia, and T-Mobile are interested in 3.5GHz as well so they must aware.
msilbey
msilbey
12/5/2016 | 2:28:46 PM
4 players
"We'll sit back and just chuckle at the idea that there would only be 4 major players [in wireless, in the US]."

I don't know about that. Yes, the cable companies are starting to explore their options, but that may still inevitably end with one or more of them buying an existing mobile company. 
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