SoftBank CEO and Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son really, really does not like to lose. Son’s iconic quote came when he was asked why he would ever want to buy up Sprint and he said that “I am a man, and every man wants to be number one, not number two or number three.” As a new profile in The Wall Street Journal makes clear, Son hasn’t lost any of his desire to win in the United States even as Sprint has consistently remained the wireless world’s biggest loser. More →
It figures: Just when we were starting to see one good reason for Sprint to acquire T-Mobile, the whole transaction has been put on ice. Bloomberg News reports that Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges doesn’t see any sale of T-Mobile to Sprint happening anytime soon, which seems to indicate that Sprint and DT have been unsuccessful in their efforts to win over U.S. regulators. This news comes just as Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son had started to go on a public relations charm offensive aimed at winning over a skeptical public about the potential benefits of a merger between the two carriers. If the two companies decide to put the merger on hold, it will be interesting to see whether Sprint adopts some of the more aggressive tactics that have helped T-Mobile win over lots of customers for the past few quarters.
I’ve long been a skeptic about Sprint and T-Mobile merging, mostly because Sprint mergers have been the kisses of death for once-promising wireless carriers such as Virgin Mobile and Nextel. However, looking at the comprehensive study of U.S. wireless carriers released by RootMetrics this week, one thing has become painfully clear: Neither Sprint nor T-Mobile has the network to compete with either Verizon or AT&T over the long haul. More →
SoftBank CEO and Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son knows that he has a lot of work to do convincing a skeptical public that his company should be allowed to gobble up T-Mobile, the so-called “Uncarrier” that has been making major waves in the wireless industry over the past year. The Wall Street Journal reports that Son now plans to go on a charm offensive to win over the American public on his proposed Sprint-T-Mobile merger and he’s going to do it in part by taking a page from T-Mobile CEO John Legere and bashing Verizon and AT&T. More →
The wiretapping business can be quite expensive for the U.S. Government, and a lucrative deal for carriers that have to comply to court-ordered surveillance operations and help government spy agencies gather information through wiretaps on selected targets. But it turns out the government is not happy with one particular carrier, which has allegedly overcharged for wiretaps, CNET reports. According to a complaint filed against Sprint in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Monday, the carrier got $21 million in wiretaps payments more than it should have from agencies including the FBI and the DEA. More →
Congratulations, Sprint customers — you have access to Wi-Fi calling… but only if you own the Galaxy S4 mini or the Galaxy Mega. Engadget brings us word that Sprint will enable Wi-Fi calling in the coming weeks for both the S4 mini and the Mega, which will hopefully be the first of many devices to get this feature added. Wi-Fi calling essentially lets you have unlimited calling as long as you can hook up to a Wi-Fi network, which is why some carriers have been reluctant to allow it since it could cut into their voice service revenues. Of course, T-Mobile has had Wi-Fi calling available in some capacity for years so Sprint isn’t exactly breaking new ground here. All the same, it’s a nice feature to have.
One of the biggest mysteries in the American wireless industry is why Sprint’s LTE network is still so slow compared to its competition despite the fact that Sprint has considerably more spectrum than its rivals. GigaOM asked Sprint CEO Dan Hesse about why his network is still so far behind the competition and he gave the standard CEO response: It’s complicated. More →
If you don’t like the thought of Sprint buying up T-Mobile then the last two days have brought some welcome news. Not only is Sprint reportedly rethinking its decision to buy T-Mobile but Reuters reports that T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom is also getting cold feet about selling off the “Uncarrier.” Essentially, unnamed sources are telling Reuters that Deutsche Telekom execs are nervous about U.S. regulatory agencies killing off the merger just as they killed off its last attempt to unload T-Mobile onto AT&T. Although Deutsche Telekom doesn’t think T-Mobile has much potential for long-term profitability, it’s apparently no longer as eager to get rid of its American subsidiary as it once was because T-Mobile has had so much success recently in adding customers faster than any other carrier in the U.S. For fans of T-Mobile who want to see it stay independent, this should come as a happy development.
While T-Mobile has clearly gotten into AT&T’s head, many analysts expected that Sprint would be the company that had the most to fear from T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” initiatives. However, Sprint’s fourth-quarter earnings report shows that the carrier surprisingly added 58,000 postpaid subscribers in Q4 even though the consensus expectation was for a net loss somewhere in the neighborhood of 365,000. Sprint also posted a net loss of $0.26 per share, which was better than the consensus expectation of a $0.32 loss per share, while also posting better-than-expected revenu of $9.14 billion. The company’s full press release follows below. More →
Sprint’s never-ending attempt to acquire T-Mobile has run into some headwinds lately. Two weeks ago, unnamed sources in the Department of Justice told the Wall Street Journal that having four major national carriers was important for healthy competition, and last week Sprint’s chairman met with the FCC to try to convince it that consolidation will help it compete with Verizon and AT&T. However, it looks like the pushback that Sprint is getting from regulators is giving the carrier second thoughts about the wisdom of merging with T-Mobile. More →
At what point would it be appropriate to suggest that T-Mobile should buy Sprint instead of the other way around? Barron’s flags a new research note from RBC Capital Markets analyst Jonathan Atkin, who says that T-Mobile’s pledge to pay off rivals’ early termination fees could have an absolutely devastating impact on Sprint, the company that just happens to be working on a plan to buy up America’s “Uncarrier.” How bad might things be for Sprint? Well, consider that the consensus expectation for this quarter is that Sprint will report losing somewhere in the neighborhood of 365,000 postpaid wireless subscribers… and Atkin says that estimate was made before factoring in T-Mobile’s ETF payout gambit, which he says could “lead to wider losses” for the carrier than anyone had previously imagined.
The last time Sprint made a major acquisition in the wireless space, it turned out to be an unmitigated disaster for both its own customers and for the company itself. Sprint’s 2005 merger with Nextel was the start of a downward spiral for Sprint that saw it lose millions of wireless subscribers to AT&T and Verizon and that saw it fall far behind in the race to deploy LTE due to its decision to instead use WiMAX as its 4G technology. More →
Sprint and parent company SoftBank haven’t officially announced their intention to acquire T-Mobile yet, but about a dozen independently confirmed reports from various news organizations state that an announcement is imminent. Sprint is meeting with regulators, SoftBank is meeting with T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom, and banks reportedly tripped over themselves to offer financing for the deal.
While opinions are typically mixed on big M&A events like this, industry watchers seem to agree across the board that a Sprint/T-Mobile deal is an awful, awful idea. Some cite technical issues with integrating the two networks and some cite insurmountable regulatory hurdles as the reason this entire ordeal is a waste of time. While there’s plenty of coverage and analysis out there for those interested in learning more about the issues at hand, one industry watcher did a good job of laying out all the reasons this soon-to-be proposed merger is probably a terrible idea. More →