T-Mobile merger with Sprint inches closer with parent companies agreeing on a sale



A T-Mobile/Sprint merger is one step closer to becoming a reality after reports that Deutsche Telekom has already agreed on a sale to SoftBank. According to Reuters, Deutsche Telekom — which owns a 67% stake in T-Mobile — would be willing to keep a minority stake after selling to SoftBank, but smaller details, like an actual dollar figure, have yet to be worked out.

The biggest hurdle the two companies face isn’t so much coming to an agreement, it’s gaining regulatory approval. Deutsche Telekom has wanted out of the US market for quite sometime, while it’s clear SoftBank is looking to enter it after picking up Sprint for around $21.6 billion back in October of 2012.

But reducing the number of major US carriers from 4 to 3 is a tough pill to swallow, especially after seeing the strides T-Mobile has made in the past year or so. Of course, a lot of that had to do with the large $3 billion dollar break-up fee T-Mobile gained after their failed merger with AT&T (along with AT&T spectrum), but perhaps they have a similar backup plan this time around.

Just about everything is up in the air at the moment, so try not to get too worked up. The public outcry is sure to reach the higher uppers at the FTC, and quite honestly, we can’t imagine a US market without T-Mobile and it’s wacky CEO John Legere stirring up the pot.

[Reuters | Kyodo (Subscription)]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Im going back to the stone age if Tmobile gets eaten up by Sprint. I refuse to pay out the wazoo for verizon and its locked down CRAP, and i have had nothing but horrid experiences with both AT&T and Sprint.

    1. Tmobile was the worst I’ve had. So far

      1. Really? Because T-Mobile is Absolutely tremendous Everywhere I go. Never a dropped call, no missed texts, Strong signal, 40+Mbps LTE consistently.

        1. Try actually going somewhere outside your city some time.

          1. Sprint was much better, better service and faster internet. I had nothing but major issues with Tmobile. T-Mobile is good in urban settings but when you live in the country you take what’s best. At the moment I can only get ATT, since at the time I moved here was before no contract I went to Straight talk and I absolutely love it

  2. I will protest as loudly as possible, anyone know of any petitions going on to try to stop this so the goverment knows the consumers don’t want it? I seriously haven’t seen one person yet that isn’t an investor who wants this to happen.

    I came from sprint almost 1 year ago and I refuse to go back! Plus i agree with Chris, I’ll miss john legere and his crazy antics that guy has got to be the coolest CEO ever.

    1. I mean, who knows. Hesse hasn’t made the smartest moves during his time with Sprint. It’s entirely possible Legere will take over after the merger and continue putting pressure on AT&T and Verizon.

      1. Historically speaking, Dan Hesse has never been seen in a favorable light.
        I’ve got nothing against the guy personally, but his strategy of giving away the farm has never worked, and the recent changes to Sprint Prepaid are a reflection of those policies ending. I’m firmly against the SoftBank purchase because Son is promising competition that doesn’t exist when four carriers are cut down to three.

        I’ve lived in Japan and I’ve dealt with Japanese wireless service and it’s nothing like conventional wireless service anywhere in the world. Monthly postpaid bills average $135-$180 and prepaid service just doesn’t exist the way it does in the rest of the world. I really don’t see how Son can push for the merger under the guise of competition when the local Japanese market is anything but competitive.

      2. But thats a huge if situation because if that doesn’t happen then over time we will be left with just att & verizon aside from other crappy choices that aren’t gsm such as Cricket

        1. At&t already bought cricket.

      3. Difference between Hesse and Legere is, Hesse cries to the government because his carrier is failing and how things “Just aren’t fair”. Legere tries to do something to improve his carrier.

        1. Douchebag antics at trade shows? I hate this generation.

    2. There have been rumors in the past few months that John Legere would be the one to head both companies. I think if done right, both companies would benefit greatly. That being said, I hope it would be T-Mobile with the Sprint name only. I have been with Sprint for almost 13 years now and I am thinking about leaving them. But I want to wait to see what happens with this merger.

    3. Agree with the other 2 replies, this would likely be the Tmo we all know and love (including Legere) along with Sprint’s vast spectrum and towers. And Sprint has a LOT more towers than Tmo, which is why Softbank bought them in the first place. Sprint has had everything they needed to be a strong carrier (spectrum, towers, infrastructure, customers) except for the leadership. Put Legere at the helm of a SprinTMo with all of those assets and you have a kick ass carier.

      1. I hope you guys are right, I dunno I guess I just always expect the worst from big corporations and was worried they may find Legere to risqué and replace him or labotomize him to reduce the crazy :p

        But I will admit if they handed him the keys to sprint with it’s spectrum and resources combined with t-mo. I think att and verizon would shart themselves.

        1. That’s the hope :)

  3. The regulator companies seem to have a lot of contraction to deal with. Comcast/TWC, AT&T/DirectTV, and now likely Sprint/T-Mobile. I hope the deny all 3.

    1. LoL!!

  4. T-mobile has been a pain in the ass to Verizon. My family just moved all of our accounts from Verizon to T-Mobile because of their very competitive offer. We reduced our monthly bill by over half.

    1. Did you also reduce your 4G lte coverage and coverage? You get what you paid for and why I never would switch to T MOBILE or Sprint. If I did switch it would be only At and t.

  5. What’s going to happen with the actual networks? Are they going to drop one or continue to support both? GSM and CDMA are not exactly compatible, so how is this going to work out?

    1. As posted above:

      If this was approved today, it is still a year or more away from closing, and probably another year until the networks merge. By that time, both networks will be on VoLTE and SprinTmo phones will just search 5+ bands for the strongest/fastest LTE signal, that simple.

      1. Yeah modplan is their chief technology officer, he knows just what will happen.

  6. If someone could explain, I’d really appreciate it. Let’s say, hypothetically, that this gets approved. Would the merger of the two networks be as simple as phones being created with both Sprint and T-Mobile radios, while also making sure that every phone has a SIM slot to connect to the GSM radios? My only frame of reference is from Sprint World phones that have SIM slots to use Internationally (ala Note 3), but I don’t know if it would be possible for phones to automatically identify either the GSM or CDMA signal (whichever is strongest). Can someone explain how the transition would work, theoretically?

    1. If this was approved today, it is still a year or more away from closing, and probably another year until the networks merge. By that time, both networks will be on VoLTE and SprinTmo phones will just search 5+ bands for the strongest/fastest LTE signal, that simple.

      1. I see. So basically, because of LTE technology, CDMA and GSM become obsolete? I was always under the impression that the GSM and CDMA phone radios were separate.

        1. Yes, both GSM and CDMA carriers are transitioning off of those technologies to use LTE for both voice and data. This includes Verizon and ATT

          1. Thanks so much for that info.

      2. I have heard about the up and coming future of Sprint since like 2007 and all there have been is disappointemnts and incompetentcy. You can wish what you want, but they will screw the pooch in the end, and users on both carriers will suffer.

  7. Something just smells funny with this deal. The FCC is pretty much deadset against this, yet both companies still seem determined to do it. Really curious as to which person at the FCC is getting the payoff. That or this is some odd attempt to devalue one company or the other.

    1. Personally I’m hoping tmobile sets up some nice favorable benefits for if the deal falls though, and then gets some nice spectrum and money to fund itself. The idea of a sprint tmobile merger can be nice in the sense of what they both currently offer for price, and aggregating all of their bandwidth and towers and spectrum. However the issue is that they will be big enough to make themselves expensive, and start screwing over customers, with no competition out there to stop them. So here’s hoping this never gets approved and that is benefits tmobile in the end, even if deutsche telekom doesn’t want it.

  8. Everyone seems so butthurt about Sprint taking T-Mobile. The biggest thing here guys, is that Deutsche Telekom obviously wants out. A buyout is going to happen for that reason itself.

    If no one noticed, with the Sprint Framily plan, you have the cheapest freaking plan out there. Sprint isn’t going to rip off current T-Mo customers… Masayoshi Son has a vision for Sprint and the US wireless industry. I’d love to see AT&T and Verizon give even further ground.

    1. Will I lose GSM compatibility? I don’t want to use a CDMA phone. I HATE the dev sup for CDMA phones. I always see “working with all models EXCEPT CDMA”. LoL!!

      I don’t want to go back to that. I don’t want a CDMA phone, and I’m lovin’ what Tmo is giving us. =.[

      1. As posted above:

        If this was approved today, it is still a year or more away from closing, and probably another year until the networks merge. By that time, both networks will be on VoLTE and SprinTmo phones will just search 5+ bands for the strongest/fastest LTE signal, that simple.

        1. What if LTE isn’t in the area, then what would the phone search for? Would it search for a CDMA signal or a GSM signal?

          I know for a fact that LTE won’t be that dominant. Look how long it took to get Edge of the map. And they’re still doing it. LoL!!

          So what would the 3G technology be? That’s my main question.

          1. CDMA and GSM will cease to exists in the next couple of years and everything will be on LTE, voice and data. With the combined spectrum and towers, a SprinTMo could cover its entire 2G/3G footprint in LTE easily, so that CDMA and GSM were no longer needed.

          2. Couple of years? Your delusional. Sprint still runs push to talk. And What’s that home phone running on again?

          3. I hate your ult.

          4. Here comes the punchline!

          5. Sprint shut down iDen a year ago in June. They are repurposing the 700 Mhz spectrum for better LTE coverage indoors. They have a PTT service, but it uses their 3G netowrk.

          6. Well good thing they finally did it in 2013 … after stopping selling the units in 2010 … have they stopped selling GSM/CDMA phones yet? We have a good decade of that spectrum in our future. You guys are seriously underestimating the longevity of these legacy spectrums.

          7. There were a bunch of people who were on those old phones, that still wanted to use them. They were the people were they wonder why they would have to charge their phone daily, instead of weekly. Sprint has a TON of spectrum, they just need to start using it. Once they finally get their backhaul to fiber instead of T1 they can start doing something with all that spectrum.

          8. @maverick7526:disqus Don’t confuse the issue with facts, bro!

          9. I HIGHLY disagree with you @modplan:disqus. And if you’re from the future, then do know this. You’re not in your past. The longer you stay here, the more that 1% difference becomes larger until it seems to be a completely different time.

            *wasn’t reading about John Titor*

          10. wat

          11. I’m sorry. My mind wonders quite fast.

          12. With the number of different towers Tmobile and Sprint have, combined with them likely getting some 600mhz spectrum before the merger and the 800mhz sprint has, I don’t see any reason they can’t have an LTE network that covers as much as both of them cover combined right now quite well, if not even better than well. Plus with aggregation where a phone can use as many bands as it wants, they don’t even need to add new panels that support all bands immediately, the phone will pick up whatever it can get that is LTE from any antenna under the 2 carriers. Of course this is assuming a merger even happens. I believe it will be in talks for 6 months -1 year, another year or regulatory arguing, and then if it gets approved, which it hopefully won’t, another year on top of that minimum for them to get things aggregated and working together somewhat.

          13. You are only confused by ‘how long it took to get edge off the map’ because you were with ATT or TMobile. I had Sprint and Verizon 3G in my area YEARS before ATT had it there. TMobile still doesn’t.

        2. Not that simple: LTE is a data only network. You still need anther band for voice unless you trust VoIP to handle that… Oh yeah and your Isp working to approve “fast lanes”…. If you can’t see how quickly this will go bad…

          1. He did mention volte, that means voice over lte

          2. Volte

          3. Have you not heard of VoLTE? it’s been in talks for years, Tmobile is finally rolling it out, so is AT&T, Verizon should be too. I don’t know where Sprint is in it, but all carriers are doing it. The only issue is that it isn’t standardized, so a call from Tmobile to AT&T will never have the same quality. as Tmobile to Tmobile for instance. LTE will also be used to pick up sms. There’s no reason not to, it makes far more sense to refarm current voice and older data connection spectrum for more spectrally efficient lte, and then use aggregation to form it into one big pipe so to speak.

    2. A buyout is not the problem so much as sprint is sprint is a cluster uckf with their network if t-mobile is sold it should be to another gsm carrier and another progressive company. Sprint will ruin everything, right now t-mobile is cheaper and framily plan is stupid

      1. Yeah t mobile sure is cheaper than my $25 framily plan…

  9. I dont use this term lightly but FML!

    1. RIGHT!? Bah!! I don’t want to use CDMA and I don’t want to use AT&T as a GSM carrier.

      I’ll be forced to use US Cellular. Are they any good? Do they have an unlimited no-throttle (no matter what percentage you are) plan?

      Bah!! They can’t do this to us. =.[

      1. US Cellular is CDMA:

        Maybe not such a bad thing,YMMV.

      2. Well maybe sprint will do a complete switch to lte

      3. Who said t mobile was going to go away? That spectrum has to go somewhere to be used does it not? Besides the fact that switching over that many people would be impossible and the merger would be pointless

      4. GSM and CDMA are both on their way out anyways. If they merge, the ending combined network will be LTE.

        1. LTE is GSM

  10. Need to petition against this…

  11. I wish I didn’t see this article, just ruined my day

  12. Why I’d everyone crying where did anything say that tmobile is gonna go away. It can easily stay the same because of how good they’ve been doing. Plus they bought metro and that stayed exactly the same. Look at a different way because it would definitely help people that are on sprint or tmobile. I have sprint and personally want to see how this could help my service

    1. By exactly you mean dropped cdma for GSM and change of indoor coverage… Metro isn’t the same as it was it only kept it’s name

  13. I feel sorry for you T-Mo folks but this could only make Sprint better so I’m happy even if it does drag yall down a little to pick us up :)

    1. Sprint has no idea on how to manage a network that its softbank trying to save face not sprint.

  14. Im very happy with Tmo after leaving the horrid service of Sprint. If this merger takes place Ill be switching to AT&T.

  15. A Horse turd mixes with Donkey turd to make a nicer mess.

  16. I’m okay with it as long as Legere leads the merged company.

  17. Sprint employees offer the worst customer service imaginable. Couple that with the crappiest network and you have a truly bad company. I’e been so happy with Tmobile. I see no benefit in this for me personally. I would rather go back to Verizon high rates than ever be involved with Sprint again. Hope the regulators stop this travesty..

  18. I hate Deutsche Telekom. They have wanted to cash out on T-Mobile for so long. T-Mobile needs to be owned by people who want to see it become number 1 or 2 carrier in the USA instead of getting it to the point it can be bought. If anything T-Mobile should be buying Sprint and not the other way around, but Deutsche has no interest in doing that and never has.

    1. And that definitely falls in line with the interviews that the Softbank CEO has given, where he has wanted to get Sprint out of its poor reputation. Should the merger get approved, I’d have no problem with Softbank keeping all of the T-mobile executive team and dumping the Sprint team.

  19. John Legere needs to run the new company and T-Mobile needs to set the course for business direction. Product, Network and Customer Service needs to be done by T-Mobile. Sprint is only good for it’s customers. I hope this is blocked.

    1. Well, Sprint does have more LTE spectrum, but if the merger were to happen, I’d be very fine with John Legere taking over the reigns and running the combined company. I’m hoping that Softbank sees Legere’s value, should this be approved.

  20. So you think Sprint buys T-Mobile and T-Mobile will just disappear and fade into Sprint? What world do you live in? Or should I say country? This is good for both companies, definitely with them keeping majority of the company and effectively just combining resources not services.

  21. I just don’t get it. What is T-Mobile doing wrong that they have to merge? Didn’t they just add like a million new customers with the whole new marketing campaign? Their CEO is a damn BAWSE. It just makes no sense financially. I guess for monopolistic purposes then yea. But T-Mobile is a really great cell company.

  22. TMobile’s coverage is a lie. It’s phone service sucks. Maybe merging with Sprint will make TMobile worth the money…

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