Sprint’s Dan Hesse: We’re Considering a T-Mobile Merger, LTE for the Future


In a move that surprises no one (they rarely do), Dan Hesse – Sprint’s CEO – has gone on record stating that the company’s still considering a merger with T-Mobile sometime down the line. Even if Deutsche Telekom – T-Mobile’s parent company – feels that T-Mobile’s doing just fine on their own, Sprint would beg to differ that a merger would make the most sense for both parties. Combined, they’d be in a great position to leapfrog AT&T to take on Verizon Wireless – the nation’s largest carrier.


What’s more is that Dan Hesse isn’t sleeping at the wheel when it comes to LTE. He knows that WiMAX is in a disadvantaged position (largely due to how many carriers are considering LTE to be the future of mobile broadband in comparison, alongside other factors). Fortunately for them, they claim they’ve secured enough spectrum and built their infrastructure in such a way that LTE could be built on top of WiMAX providing a structure that would allow the two standards to work in harmony.

It’d definitely put Sprint in a very unique position in regards to 4G, but we’ll just have to see if they’ll ever put their money where their mouth is.

[via Financial Times]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Please no merger! I wud be forced to switch to metro piece of **** or gayT&T

  2. I just left T-mobile for Sprint…

  3. I dearly hope Sprint isn’t the controlling entity in a potential merger because that would potentially jeopardize T-Mo’s award winning customer service. We all know how notoriously bad Sprint’s customer service has always been and speaking as a former customer I know first hand.

    But on the flip side if T-Mo is the controlling entity then this would be a pretty great partnership. A case can be made Deutsche Telekom was asleep at the wheel (which isn’t new) when Sprint was at it’s most vulnerable a year or two ago and they should have pulled the trigger on a takeover then but of course they didn’t.

    Now it seems Sprint is in control, oh the irony…

  4. If a merger happens, what happens to current contracts? Is there an opt out? I’m a loyal T-mo customer of 6 years after leaving Sprint, and I don’t want Sprint to get another dime from me. Customers have to have some kind of power in their choice, right?

  5. Can anybody speak on Sprint’s behalf if they have actually fixed their customer service like their commercials say or is it still old and busted? I remember them always trying to add stuff to my plan a bunch of years ago without telling me, then every other month it was a fight to get them to fix it. Nobody needs that crappy customer service tainting Tmo’s awesome customer service.

  6. Yes, Sprint customer service is much much better these days, as well as their service. If they do merge, it would be in the best interests of everyone for Sprint to be the controlling party.


  7. Sprint has been great for me so far, once i double click on my payment, and they actually help me out to get my money back, they were nice and everything, sprint FTW

  8. Sprints CS has greatly improved.

    This merger simply won’t happen, not in the foreseeable future anyways.

  9. I had Sprint about 10 years ago and now I am back with Sprint again. They have been very responsive and eager to satisfy whenever I call. Based on the calls that I have made it seems customer service appears to be a high priority for them and it is showing.

  10. Ummm… recent polls has Sprint’s customer’s service way ahead of TMo and AT&T (tied for last place). And verizon is only slightly better than Sprint.

    Stop the misinformation. Sure, they did suck before. But that’s like saying Japanese electronics are lousy because of their lack of quality before the 1970’s.

  11. GSM + CDMA = ??

  12. @Wello = LTE :)

  13. it wont happen till both networks are LTE thier not gonna make the nextel issue again. and polls dont mean shit I can tell you from experience (11 yr sprint customer ) its getting worse and worse

  14. @chang3d Do you have a link for the polls? JD Power for their 2010 ratings still has them dead last.

    But that’s at least reassuring to hear that they have improved from their past, especially their billing.

  15. @ #12: You are a moron.. enough said

  16. I think it’s kind of backwards how people bash Sprint and want T-Mobile to be the controlling party. I can’t see it happening that way. Just because they have good customer service doesn’t mean they are the end all be all. I don’t mean to offend but when you have a less than stellar phone line up and a fairly new network that’s still trying to catch up on the 3G game, you HAVE to have good customer service. I would prefer Sprint to grab the reins and just merge with T-Mobile to gain more customers and take down Verizon.

  17. @12,

    Been a customer since ’92 and have never had any major issues. However, I can attest that some did with runaway bills. Then again, they just needed to curb their talk time. As for signal, I never understood the complaint as my phones worked just about everywhere I went and I travel all around the US for business weekly.


  18. Look I’m ALL FOR the merger if two things are kept the way it is like. #1 The customer service of T-Mo sorry to those newbies out there who just came on to the “new Sprint” saying customer service is great. It’s hard to convince a former customer before the Dan Hesse days that customer service has drastically change and is know wonderfully splendid. #2 GSM MUST STAY… I HATE CDMA period, why limit yourself to being further in the controls of the carrier? We all know with GSM we maintain a little more flexibility when it comes to something like… I don’t know something similar like hopping in and out of phones (sarcasm). If these things stay in tack then sign me on!

  19. I like TMO the way it is, the best customer service.
    A merger would no doubt screw that up among a lot of other things.


  20. I think this would be phenomenal if they joined forces. There would be good phones and affordable plans for the joint powers. As for customer service, I think that in a merger they would combine the best of both worlds

  21. I was once with Sprint and I have been a Tmo customer for the past 5 years. Tmo customer service is AMAZING. Does anyone remember Sprint’s customer service bot – Claire?

    Sprint was pretty awful and I wouldn’t want to go back to them.

    As far as coverage, my TMO BB works everywhere. I travel alot and love the flexibility of using a GSM card. Also when traveling to the Virgin Islands, TMO considers the calls as though they are being made in the states so no extra charges.

    If they ‘merge’ I hope that TMO is the leader.

  22. From 24/7 Wallstreet…

    “T-Mobile, the US wireless provider, is owned by telecom giant Deutsche Telekom. It is the No.4 cellular company in an American market that only supports two really successful firms—AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless. Even the third largest company in the market—Sprint—has 50 million customers. T-Mobile had 34 million customers at the end of last year. T-Mobile only had a profit of $306 million in 2009. That was down from $483 million in 2008. T-Mobile not only faces three larger competitors, it also has to begin to offer 4G service to compete with Sprint’s new WiMax service and LTE-based products from AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile may seek a partner to offer a 4G network, but there are no super-fast broadband networks likely to be finished before its three rivals offer the service. As it now stands, T-Mobile has no future in the US.”

  23. I just want to keep GSM. And the openness that T-Mobile allows. Unlike at&t and others that don’t even allow unsigned Apps and what not. I don’t want sprint nickle and diming me! T-Mobile has been a great company in that sense

  24. I don’t understand how the merger would work with TMO being GSM and Sprint being CDMA.

  25. Hoping this merger never happens. No matter what other users say, all studies have Sprint’s customer service dead last. Plus, I want to keep my phone GSM, as it is pretty much standard throughout the world and I travel often. Oh well, not going to get worked up over things I have no control over.

  26. Sprint + T-Mo + LTE = sweetness. That means that all US carriers will be using LTE and hopefully moving to a more open model like Europe when it comes to buying a phone of your choice, if you so choose, and then picking the provider.

  27. That would give us 75 Million Customers?? LTE + WiMax Dual Chipped phones would be a JOY!

  28. I am down, lets take over everything Sprint. :D Just hoping that Sprint doesnt get a big head if this does happen and forget about the little guys that have been there for 10 years or longer. If pricing doesnt suffer I think this is an awesome idea. Wont happen for atleast 2 more years but its an idea for sure.

  29. Fck Sprint, leave T-mobile a fcking alone! I’m happy with my T-mobile CS.

    Sprint will fck everything up..just like AT&T did with Cingular.

  30. you are all a bunch of whiners. why the hell do you need customer service so damn much? 90% of your issues can be solved without speaking a word, yet it seems more time is spent being ignorant and needy. sprint should control things if the 2 merge. sprint doesnt have the same BS view on plans that tmo, att, and vzw have. they may sell their phones for a little more, but withing 3 months you make that money back with what you save on your plan. and considering this is referred to as a merger rather than buyout or take over, i highly doubt things will end up being all tmo or all sprint.

    and @sam i am- your ass doesnt travel the world. everyone knows you still live in your moms basement.

  31. please don’t. i like how t-mo has gsm phones and no data caps.

  32. @Nate have you really been paying for crap service for 11 years? That’s sad… move along…

    @Androidtoy hmmm… Cingular bought out AT&T Wireless, screwed the pooch and AT&T leveraged their stock to take back Cingular… So really, it was Cingular that messed up AT&T’s service…

    And for those worried about CDMA vs. GSM, don’t be, the CDMA hardware and towers will be replaced by HSPDA+ hardware and the capital from the sales of the CDMA stuff to smaller regional carriers will go to network expansion.

    The merger is probably the only way we will continue to see regional carriers an more than 2 options for national carriers.

  33. I agree with the Sprint vs. T-mobile customer service.

    Had Sprint 4 years ago – 2006. The sales rep lied about the early termination fee (ETF) and the telephone customer service wasn’t American, it was overseas CS (outsourced), hard to understand and very rude every time I called.
    Had T-mobile for 2 years. Great customer service, Great in-store staff. I love GSM I can go overseas.
    When I tested download speed of my T-mobile phone against a Sprint Palm Pre, my T-mobile downloaded the page in 4 seconds, compared to 20 on the Sprint Palm Pre. Plus, Isn’t Tmobile’s HSPA+ supposed to be faster than Sprint’s 4G ?

  34. I don’t know what everyone is complaining about. I see a T-Mo and Sprint merger as being a good thing.

    Everyone whining about customer service? I find that to be pretty funny myself. Seams like whenever most you any of us here have a question or problem, it is always posted on online forums anyways not calling Sprint or T-Mo.

  35. Mxtc, ironically, Both T-Mos HSDPA+ and AT&Ts HSUPA are faster then Sprints 4G. I laughed at my brother because of that fact. My hTC Magic on AT&T and my girls myTouch Slide on T-Mo both get faster DL speeds then my Brothers EVO 4G and yes we do have 4G in my area.

  36. @nate, that JD Power is sales survey not customer service.

    Everyone is looking at this on a narrow view and mostly only on OLD customer service of Sprint.

    Go visit the stores and see who is helpful youselves.

  37. @Brandon – Customer service is not just help to solve issues. It is when you go in to a store, the reps do what they can to give you what you want. Not trying to push you to get something you do not need. It is also the options to be Off contract or On contract, to have the capability to buy your phone up front and offer a pay plan if you need it. Local T-Mobile reps here in Simi are great. Always cheerful and happy with the job they have and it allows for customers to feel like they are a party of the group.
    Also being Swedish living in the USA, I need a phone that I can use when I travel back to Sweden and Europe. Neither Sprint or Verizon is an option for me because of this. So if T-Mobile and Sprint merges, I hope they keep the GSM bands, or I would be forced to go with something like AT&T which I just barely left because they are little vampires, sucking you dry little by little.

  38. Why do you all assume a merger would mean a switch from GSM to CDMA or vise versa? They may just merge to share the cost of deploying 4G/LTE. No one knows all the details so quit your bitching.

  39. WELL. 1st off when it came to sprint in the past I never had problems with my phone or i was extremely luckyas for thei customer service i really didnot pay attention nor did they add other things on my bill…. so i cant judge on that…. but this is going back like in 1997 when they just came out with cell phones… so i cant talk badabout sprint…. i will say though att is the worse services i have ever experienced in my whole life… the is a fact…. verizon i never tried so i cant judge…

    as for tmo i been on this network since 2003…. i like where i am… nor would i want to get rid of them let alone a merger… i like the gsm phones because i can switch out the card when i go to places like india or south. africa or new zealand…. so to me it makes sense….. i would be really disappointed if they did merge…. so far the. only. issue. i have wit tmo is i wish they got better phones….. but i am willing to overlook that for an ease of mind knowing that they look out for u when u need the most…. plus the samsung galaxy s is coming out…. really excited bout that !!!!!

  40. I don’t feel that a merger would be great unless Sprint is the controlling entity. As a Sprint customers I can say my experience has been a pleasant one and has only improved over the years.

    From a business perspective:
    1)Contracts are always enforcible even after a buyout or merger, language is always put in for these types of events.
    2) Any company that doesn’t look at synergies before doing this type of deal is very stupid, but it has happened before.
    3) Sprint could easily keep the call and customer service centers from T-Mo and get rid of the bad ones from their side.
    4) Sprint has better vendor and manufacture relationships that T-Mo.

    There are many more things to look at, but this is not the place. The U.S. will eventually go to a GSM network, and if the telecom’s don’t, Google will make them with all the back room spectrum buying and Washington lobbying they are doing. It would really bring down costs for all, but there has always been a fight from the majors over control. If you control the network, you can control the phone and the manufacture, and hope to control the customer(or while the contract is in place). Anyway will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  41. T-mobile has really crappy phones so maybe a merger with Sprint would provide customers with a better selection of android devices. I’m sick of always having to choose the phone that T-mobile took flash out of or the one with the slower processor and smaller screen. T-mobile has a different target audience than Sprint does and I think it would benefit customers from both carriers if they do indeed merge. I’d miss having a SIM card and being able to switch between phones if they do decide to go all CDMA though.

  42. Woohoo, SprinT-Mobile! The two alone are not doing so well, although Sprint got a boost with their 4G service now. Merging with T-Mobile (and getting rid of that oddball 3G band T-Mo uses) might just enable them to become a threat to Verizon and AT&T. If that happened, and they kept their reasonable phone/data plan pricing, Verizon and AT&T might be forced to come down a little bit. I smell a potential win for all consumers on this one.

  43. Just sprint phones, and 4G.. But I have been with T-Mobile for ever and there plans are great and everything about them. But I would LOVE a Trint Mobile Evo

  44. couldn’t we look at the merger of orange and tmobile uk be used as an example for how this would all play out?

  45. oops, wrong sentence syntax.

    *couldn’t we look at the merger of orange and tmobile uk as an example for how this would all play out?

  46. i don’t get all the talk about t-mobile’s awd winning customer service. I spent 45 minutes getting transferred around for an incredibly simple question about pre-paid minutes the other day. By the time the transfer-fest was finally over, I was fuming and the customer service rep wasn’t willing to give an inch on compensation for my hour of time without service on a phone I use for work.

  47. I went from T-mo to sprint and I can tell you with assurance that Sprint’s customer service is waaaayyy better than T-mo’s customer service hand’s down. That being said, if they combined companies that would be the best for the customer’s right?

  48. I don’t see how Sprint has any remote possibility of being the controlling entity. T-Mobile’s parent company (Deutsche Telekom)has more resources to pull from and could easily buy out Sprint 3 times over. Sprint may have a higher customer base in America but that’s nothing compared to T-Mobile’s 150+ million customers worldwide.

  49. This could mean a better selection of phones for t-mobilers

  50. SprinT-Mobile The nations only GSMCDMAHSPAIDENEV-DOLTEWiMax network

  51. lol i left sprint 5 yrs ago for tmobile and dnt wnat anythinggggggg to do with that awful service
    bad customer service bad signals anywhere
    bad phones

    ppl hate on t mobile but i have the best service out of anyone i know and my touch slide is the bestttttt

  52. It really is funny! My first phone I ever got was with Sprint. Got sick of them so I went to Nextel two months later sprint brought them out. Now I’m at Tmobile and now they my be takeing them over and mean takeing them over cause that is what they do. As far as the customers go. If it happens that good old customer service will be gone. Good luck getting someone that speaks english when you call into Sprint. At least that is the way it used to be.

  53. I switched to Sprint from T-Mobile and I could never see myself going back to T-Mobile again. If the merger happens I hope Sprint becomes the controlling party.

  54. WelEell we can all agree that AT&T sucks rite?

  55. @Beamer

    Yep. haha

  56. @Ceger,

    Check out 24/7 Wallstreets list from 2008…

    Sprint (S) should never have merged with NexTel, but it is a little too late for that to be fixed now. It traded above $23 about a year ago and recently fell to close to $8. While AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) post enviable wireless numbers, Sprint struggles to keep current subscribers. Sprint is cutting bodies but Wall St. has no confidence that fewer people and these modest savings will turn around the company. Its issues of being an independent wireless company with angry customers are simply too great. SK Telecom, a big Korean operator, has already come to Sprint with a proposed investment. The board did not listen. But, the company’s shares were not at $10 then. SK may well be back. The other potential buyer often mentioned is Comcast (CMCSA). After years of beating on the big US phone companies, Comcast is now up against their fiber-to-the-home broadband and TV products. And, it is losing customers to them. What Comcast does not have is wireless products to offer consumers and businesses as part of a “bundle” of services. At $6 or $7 Sprint could look very attractive.

    Read more: The Large US Companies That May Disappear In 2008 – 24/7 Wall St.

    Clearly they aren’t all that credible about what companies have a future and what companies don’t…

  57. @Brandon, hey, some of us work for a living. Some of us travel for work. Just ask your mom who I visit anytime I’m in town.

  58. love sprint – love my plan and my evo – customer service has always been great in my book. when my wife and i moved to a rural area with little to no signal at our house they sent me the airave for free and waved the service fee (as they should have) although my verizon friends in the neighborhood all had to pay for their network extenders from verizon. i am a big fan of sprint.

  59. I have both a T-Mobile account, and a Sprint account for talk, text and web.

    + I’m not forced into a 2 year contract. I have no annual contract.
    + They use SIM cards
    + I can use my international phones Nexus One and Galaxy S on the T-Mobile network both in the US and in Europe
    – They are very slow to update the MyTouch to Android 2.1 or 2.2

    + First with 4G
    + Quality and coverage is OK
    – I’m forced into a 2 year contract
    – I can’t use my international phones on their network
    – They were slow to update the HTC Hero to Android 2.1

  60. Yep, Paul..Flex Pay sucks for you.

  61. sprint actually have better customer service than tmobile , i have both right now and trust me i don’t know where they get the scoring in term of customer service but i am an actual customer of both and sprint is so much better than tmobile is not even close.

  62. I’ve heard that Sprint’s customer service has improved. However, I switched from Sprint to T-Mobile because Sprint’s customer service was atrocious. In contrast customer service at T-Mobile has been mostly good. As for the merger, who knows. I like the fact that T-Mobile and Sprint seem to be trying harder to keep from failing completely, in some sense that’s good for consumers. At the same time, they need the scope to compete effectively with AT&T and Verizon.

  63. I recently called in to Sprint customer service to discuss a change i wanted to make to my account, They processed it and even found a way to make the change I wanted and save me money too. Afterwards I received two emails, and a follow up call to make sure everything was done to my satisfaction. This never used to happen five years ago but in the last two or three this is the kind of service I have experienced. I dont care that someone had a bad experience 5 years ago or more. Today they are great, and yes they speak english. If you love your provider’s service terrific, but dont compare it to sprint 5 years ago

  64. GSM + CDMA + IDEN + HSDPA + EVDO + WIMAX = Desaster

  65. You Sprint loving idiots is only cuz you don’t know any better.

  66. If Sprint kept T-Mos customer service, I would be completely fine with that. I left Sprint, because of their customer service, and went to T-Mo.

  67. “T-Mobile may seek a partner to offer a 4G network, but there are no super-fast broadband networks likely to be finished before its three rivals offer the service. As it now stands, T-Mobile has no future in the US.”

    LOL T-Mobile’s network is already faster than Sprint’s 4G offering (even at 7.2Mbps, never mind the 21Mbps being rolled out). Why would they partner with someone just for 4G coverage?

    But really from an overall coverage stand point I’m for the merger. I was with Sprint two years ago and their coverage was better than T-Mobile. But I’m still pretty happy with TMO and kind of would rather see where they can take themselves.

  68. @ zerix01
    One of the better posts and were up to 67.. I am absolutely not for the merger unless they convert to T Mobiles technology. while bringing LTE online later.. I will absolutely drop them if they go to CDMA.. I’ll be on AT&T quick.. In fact AT&T did exactly that, dropped CDMA for GSM.. Sorry EVO dudes.. but a tech that is propitiatory to the US only and doesn’t let me use my phone overseas is not for me.

  69. I wish there was a way to change my evo to gsm

  70. yes go sprint/tmobile yes yes yes…

  71. Moises, don’t be a fool. I’d never leave GSM technology.

  72. I just switched to sprint from at&t in october when the hero came out, so far, i have no issue with sprint. Their customer service was very nice when i have issues and they did helped me out.

  73. I find some of the comments here laughable. I actually came to Sprint because Tmobile sucks…their CSRs sucks…their website sucks…and their phone selection sucks.

    …at least w/Sprint you have phone selection. -grin-

  74. i been with sprint for 5 years loved it customer service great phone service great insurance program perfect…. for some reason i was like let me try some one else so i still have sprint and now tmobile for every thing i have with sprint im paying 100 more with t mobile a month with crappy service i never have sprint with t mobile where i work out in the field cause im in the army always have service with sprint and i pay and extra 100 in insurance deductible with t mobile if something should happen to my phone seeing as im in the field a lot. far as customer service with t mobile it was as good as sprint but i didnt like how if i change my plan with tmobile it resets my contract, i can change it 100 times a year with sprint and never resets my contract…. with all this said in my opinion sprint is the best way to go as far as the controlling leader of the merger if it takes place

  75. Sprint rocks! Great phones and excellent customer service now.

  76. I have been with T-Mobile for five years. I have tried Alltel and Verizon (now the same company) and I could’ not wait for my cotract to expire with them. Verizon is the worst from my personal experience. T-Mobile has been very reliable and their customer service has been awesome. The reps have been able to help me with all 3 times I have had to call in the past 5 years, and 2 of these calls where made to change my plan. Come on. T-Mobile should be the controlling leader.

  77. Sorry Sprint’s customer service sucks….But it is subjective to the customer

    never had tmobile but i heard that while their network sucks, they do have great customer service…

    Sprint & Verizon should merge

    as well as At & T and tmo

  78. it’s funny i travel everywhere, all over U.S., Canada – Europe/Far East – and for the most part TMo rules – but yes they’re svce is weakest here!!! i’ve done ATT & Verizon – and heard horrors of Sprint – overall my svce from TMo is the best – ATT was next and Verizon was a disaster (huge bills, lots of dropped calls) but that was the ’90’s – just as i am sure Sprint is turning around now – if a merge occurred it has to stay GSM anything but is stupid beyond words – and the more bitching abt tMo’s svce the more towers they’re putting up, so soon, the svce here will be NO worse than anyone elses but we’ll have excellent customer svce, and about the lowest priced plans. And hey with the Vibrant out today and more goodies to follow, maybe the Android road that Tmo paved will start to turn things around!?!?! – you know what i mean!

  79. ok, SIM cards are not a reason to go GSM, that’s retarded. the two have nothing to do with each other. simply lobby Sprint to go to a Carded model. the fact is, outside of the US CDMA phones DO use cards.

    frankly i wouldnt mind seeing this happen, as perhaps it would encourage Sprint to start using cards in their CDMA phones. dont be fooled, this has nothing to do with CDMA v. GSM and everything to do with keeping your phone locked down to one network. i say let sprint card their phones and leave Verizon holding the bag as the only carrier that insists on locking their customers down.

  80. i will speak on sprints customer service, i was with verizon for 8 years and switched to sprint and was very suprised how much better their customer service has gotten!! everyone talks about verizons so called best customer service but i never thought it was that great and its even worse when you go into a verizon store. i for one am very pleased with sprint, i personally think their service is above and beyond verizons service, my evo smokes any phone verizon offers even the new droid : ). if verizon is the best service then why do they lock you down with a 350 early termination fee? everyone will have a different opinion about anyones customer service but i for one like sprint!!

  81. I’m all for change, but is this really going to be best for the public? Thats going to drop us down to 3 major carriers, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, and I think that the consumers need more choice. Don’t do it, T-Mobile!

  82. I have been exclusively with Sprint for 8+ years. My CS experiences have only been an issue when I went through Radio Shack for phone/accessories assistance. Living & traveling somewhat remotely, I have found weak signals to no connection from time to time. Every time my contract is up for renewal, I compare comparable plans and Sprint has the most bang for the buck every time. I love my BB, my plan has unlimited Sprint data/texting/cell phone calls (450 landline minutes which I hardly use) for less than $70/mo (without taxes). Where else can a person get such a great deal? My other family members use the competition and their bills are higher and have data caps & more restrictions although I don’t think any use T-Mo. All that being said, I’ve no complaints with Sprint and under Dan Hesse’s direction, a merger with T-Mo could be beneficial for both companies.

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