The news that Japan-based Softbank is about to take Sprint under its wing is just another example of globalization at work. If the $20.1 billion deal between the two companies is approved by regulators and shareholders, it’ll add to the growing list of American wireless carriers that are mostly owned by foreign companies. Here’s a quick look at who’s behind the top mobile network operators in the U.S.

Verizon Wireless

With over 108 million subscribers, Verizon is undoubtedly the country’s largest U.S. carrier, and it’s one that  is still mostly owned by an American-based company – though not by a huge percentage. While 55% of the company’s shares belong to Verizon Communications, the other 45% is owned by Vodafone, a British multinational company.


Thanks to its 100 million subscribers, AT&T is the country’s second largest wireless carrier. AT&T is fully owned by AT&T Inc., which is based in Texas, USA. The failed attempt of acquiring T-Mobile has cost the carrier the top spot.


As mentioned, Softbank is currently in the process of acquiring Sprint with a deal that is reportedly worth $20.1 billion. When the process is completed, Softbank will get 70% ownership of Sprint, and take a 17% slice of the country’s overall wireless subscribers.


German telecom powerhouse Deutsche Telekom AG bought Voice Stream Wireless Inc. in 2001, which was then renamed as T-Mobile USA – now the fourth largest wireless carrier in the States. Merger talks between T-Mo and prepaid regional carrier MetroPCS are ongoing.

Overall, according to estimation made by Betanews, about 45.3% of the wireless market in the country will be controlled by non-U.S. multinational companies, should the Softbank-Sprint deal comes through.