The stars are aligning for Sprint to buy T-Mobile

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 17, 2014

sprint changes tos

Sprint is reportedly interested in buying T-Mobile, and now it has the support of banks for the transaction. Meanwhile, T-Mobile’s owner operated organization changes that suggest a sale is incoming.

Rumors about Sprint and T-Mobile joining forces have been making the rounds for months now, and the two companies have not denied interest in a possible merger or acquisition. Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sprint (owned by Japan’s SoftBank) and T-Mobile (owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom) have already decided that it would be in their best interest to combine in some form. The decision was made several months ago, according to people familiar with the matter cited by WSJ, but the two sides still have to agree on how exactly to proceed.

Sprint has reportedly received offers from at least two banks that are willing to finance a deal to buy T-Mobile with up to $50 billion, including $31 billion for T-Mo’s shares and $20 billion for covering debt.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom has transferred the ownership of the 67 percent stake it holds in T-Mobile from a German holding company to a holding company it owns in Netherlands. While the group denied the move is in preparation of a sale, analysts cited by Reuters believe that Deutsche Telekom wanted to take advantage of the lower taxes on asset sales in Netherlands.

According to the WSJ, the two sides want to complete the deal before a major spectrum auction in mid-2015. Given that a deal could take 12 to 18 months to pass through all regulatory hurdles, there’s a sense of urgency about it.

Even if Sprint, T-Mobile, and their foreign owners agree on a deal, the FCC and other regulators could stop it in its tracks. That’s what happened when AT&T attempted to buy T-Mobile in 2011. The FCC is worried about further consolidation in the US telecom market, but Sprint and T-Mo could successfully argue they need to join forces to beat the much larger Verizon and AT&T.

  • Jayfeather787

    There will still be the option for GSM right? I only do GSM because its easier when I go out of the country.

    • EvenInTheDarkestHour

      I think they are heading toward voice LTE. But, Sprint would be foolish to dump GSM, though that’s never stopped them before…

      • jay555

        Yeah it wouldn’t surprise me if Sprint didn’t get rid of GSM. CDMA has always given Sprint (and Verizon) an unfair amount of control over what phones their customers are allowed to use on their network. Forget about buying an unlocked phone and popping your SIM card in. Now if you want to buy a new phone you’ll have to:

        * get the ESN number of the phone

        * call Sprint (wait 3 hours on hold)

        * have the idiot rep check if the number is clean (i.e. not a stolen phone)

        * then the idiot rep checks to see if that number matches a phone that they’ll allow on their network.

        * finally the idiot rep checks to see if your current phone plan is “compatible” with the new phone

        * and lastly the idiot rep says you need to upgrade to a newer (read: more expensive) plan if you want to active that new phone

        That’s Sprint in a nutshell which is why I left them years ago. My only question is what going to happen to all the t-mobile based MVNOs (straight talk, simple mobile, net10, etc.) if this crazy deal goes down? Will their prices go up? Will you only be able to use whatever phones Sprint deems worthy?

        • Chris

          Everything you mentioned about Sprint is what would become of T Mobile if this deal is allowed. Just more of the same. That’s all Sprint has ever done. “The screw it up now” network should be there motto.

          • Franco

            I rather would like for dish to buy out T-Mobile if Sprint buys T-Mobile there going to change it to CDMA

        • Jayfeather787

          Awww. Well LOL about the idiot rep.

        • bronxboi

          They will probably end up using both network and having phones that can go between CDMA and GSM but they will pool the LTE networks. By the way, I have Sprint and my calls get answered in less than 1 minute, everytime. Most reps are knowledgeable and I have encountered some bad ones at AT&T and Verizon.

          • Richard Sequeira

            Old habits never die. SoftBank has stated that they wish to keep Sprint as a CDMA Carrier. Sprint is still in a mess in regards to their own network. Not to mention the recent deal that T-Mobile made with Verizon with respect to use spectrum.

  • MasterMuffin

    Call me stupid, but I didn’t know that T-Mobile and Sprint are owned by companies from Europe and Asia! Also is this good or bad news? Seems like bad to me

    • Also, Vodafone owned half of Verizon. In general, consolidation like this reduces competition, but who know…

      • MasterMuffin

        I was just thinking about the uncarrier approach of T-Mobile and how that could change. Also isn’t it a problem that T-Mobile in GSM and Sprint is CDMA?

        Also yea I googled Verizon immediately after I commented and saw that. Verizon paid 130 billion dollars!

    • KlausWillSeeYouNow

      Oh, it’s bad all right. Very bad.

  • apianist16

    Go for it Sprint! Merge with yet another mostly incompatible network like you did with Nextel! It worked out great for yah!

    • Richard Sequeira

      Sprint has a symbiotic relationship with its acquisitions, a rather parasitic one. It’s no wonder why Sprint was all in cahoots with At&t.

  • Chris

    Come on FCC and DOJ, handle your business and stop this BS from happening. T-Mobile has become what you wanted, a game changer! The one company that keeps the industry on it’s toes, don’t let Sprint and their piece of S#&%! network screw it up!

    • Sprint is going to end up being a gamechanger eventually anyways, due to the Softbank acquisition. Masayoshi Son doesn’t mess around…

  • Nathan Borup

    Unions between Germany and Japan have never turned out good in history…

    • S.L Jones

      Lol wow! Rough stuff

    • MasterMuffin

      This. I’d say you just won the internet for at least a week!

  • Daniel

    This can’t be allowed to happen. Sprint buys way to many other companies and always ruins them by scrapping them and attempting to add them to their network.

  • Duane Moore

    basically if it does go through, sprint is just getting back the technology they had when they were sprint spectrum back in the 90’s.

  • S.L Jones

    So basically in a nutshell the general consensus is this is a horrible idea, of which I believe whole heatedly, hopefully the FCC stops this, the big four is an ok model in the US that allows for a good amount of competition and innovation as of late (t-mobile)… Just when t-mobile is getting descent too… Thinking about switching

  • Jonathan Sosa


  • Hoggles

    No chance the government will allow this merger. No chance. Same as the AT&T attempt, this will fail.

    • Guest123

      Maybe not. . .
      Their argument for it. T-Mo+Sprint will be closer in size to AT&T & VZW and therefore more competitive, furthermore they will finally have the funds to build out a competitive network, and the government may allow it to take place IF they assist in the creation of a new network — like selling some bandwidth to dish.

      So, it’s not exactly like AT&T’s attempt.

  • angcurry

    Don’t let Sprint buy T Mobile!! T Mobile is up and coming this would be stupid for T Mobile to sell. T mobile has a AWESOME CEO that is doing a great job ! ! T mobile also has the best customer service.

  • Mike

    Sprint needs to go out of business. They are simply terrible. I cancelled within my 14 day trial, and went over to tmobile for much better service. Tmobile is smart in offering to pay Early Term Fees, which I am hoping means theres no merger, because if they do, im sure that would be money blown as everyone who moved would move again to VZW or ATT

  • D L

    T-Mobile should be the one to buy Sprint Sprint is the worst ever first company to come out with 4G and in last place there will sink T-Mobile just like Nextel t-Mobile is a game changer Att worried big time right now just like spring and Verizon

  • AJ

    A lot of you have no idea what you’re talking about. The T-mobile network is by far the worst of any carrier. A Sprint and T-Mobile merger would make sense because like someone else said, it will bring them closer to the size of Verizon and AT&T and there will still be competition. Sprint 4G in my area has blossomed to the point where I’m getting a good signal in some of my clients houses and they aren’t with Verizon. Before you go bashing Sprint, do your research. Sprint has tons of spectrum. Just wait until the end of the year and you will see how much better Sprint service is when it’s on par with Verizon.

  • Nikato Muirhead

    The appropriate bribery has already been done. The FCC will approve. Unfortunately.

  • Jay Monstrous

    I hope this merger does happen. Both sprint and tmobile can have choppy service at times although it has gotten a lot better in recent years. If this merger does happen, it would be great because we could see better things happening with the carriers such as an expanded service area and faster speeds.

  • Kevin Trammell

    I have sprint in Tampa with no problems at all. I came over from att and service and data speeds aren’t too far off from att plus I love my unlimited data compared to 2 GB with att.I can go through that in a day streaming Netflix lol