Comcast Reportedly Pursuing T-Mobile

Deutsche Telekom is talking to Comcast about selling its T-Mobile US unit to the big cable company while discussions continue with Dish Network and others, according to German magazine Manager Magazin.

Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

June 17, 2015

2 Min Read
Comcast Reportedly Pursuing T-Mobile

Comcast has entered the bidding process for T-Mobile US and may now be the strongest contender, according to a press report out of Germany this morning.

In its latest edition, Manager Magazin reports that Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is now talking with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) about selling its T-Mobile US Inc. operation to the largest US cable company. The reports follow months of speculation about Comcast's interest in buying T-Mobile, especially after its $45.2 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) cratered nearly two months ago.

Deutsche Telekom has declined to comment on the reports. Comcast did not respond to questions about the reports before this story went to press.

As has been reported earlier, Deutsche Telekom is also still talking to Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and other possible suitors about T-Mobile. But the on-and-off discussions with Dish have apparently cooled in recent weeks as Deutsche Telekom has sought more attractive buyers. (See Not So Fast on Dish/T-Mobile Deal, Analyst Says .)

As reported by Manager Magazin, Deutsche Telekom executives view Comcast as a more appealing acquirer for T-Mobile because the giant MSO is financially stronger than Dish and other candidates and could buy all shares of T-Mobile. Deutsche Telekom, which has been seeking to shed its US assets in favor of a pan-European focus, 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.)

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

In many ways, an acquisition of spectrum-rich T-Mobile would make sense for Comcast, which has made no secret of its grand wireless ambitions in the US. It's widely known that MSO executives are now working on 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 bid for Time Warner Cable in late April because of strong regulatory opposition, could run into the same roadblocks at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice if it tries to buy T-Mobile. Comcast may also not be willing to pay top dollar for T-Mobile, now the third-biggest wireless provider in the US, especially if MSO executives believe that WiFi networks, not cellular networks, will ultimately control 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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