Regulators at the United States Department of Justice don’t sound very keen on the idea that America’s hottest wireless carrier should get bought up by the wireless world’s perpetual loser. Unnamed sources tell The Wall Street Journal that DOJ regulators indicated to SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse that they were cool to the idea of a Sprint-T-Mobile merger during a recent meeting with the two executives. The Journal’s sources say that “U.S. antitrust authorities regard the current lineup of four national mobile-phone carriers as important to maintaining a competitive market, and department officials indicated at the meeting that a deal combining Sprint and T-Mobile could face regulatory difficulties.” Even so, the Journal says that this meeting hasn’t dissuaded Son from pursuing the merger, which isn’t surprising given that he said he originally bought Sprint because “I am a man, and every man wants to be No. 1, not No. 2 or No. 3.”
When T-Mobile CEO John Legere first addressed rumors that Sprint and parent company SoftBank might make a play to acquire T-Mobile USA, he openly bashed Sprint and its network. But in a sign that such a deal may in fact be in the works, the outspoken CEO has softened his stance in recent days and stated on several occasions that a potential Sprint-T-Mobile merger has several upsides. More →
The Nextel brand has been dormant ever since Sprint shut down the iDEN network last year, but in order to put any remaining rumors to rest, the company has made the death of Nextel all but official in a recent interview with FierceWireless. In the interview, Matt Carter, president of Sprint Enterprise Solutions said that he has not heard anything about the return of Nextel. Clearing up the matter entirely, Sprint spokesman John Votava then told FierceWireless that Sprint has “no [plans] to bring back the Nextel brand.” Sprint and its parent company SoftBank believe that enterprise business is an important part of the carrier’s future, but Nextel will apparently not play any role in that future.
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and Sprint’s rumored upcoming T-Mobile takeover bid is a blazing inferno right now. Numerous reports have suggested that Sprint and its parent company, Japanese wireless carrier SoftBank, are discussing a possible deal to combine the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers in the U.S. with T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom. Banks were reportedly jumping at the opportunity to finance the deal and more recent reports suggest Sprint now has several offers in hand to fund the merger. While such a deal would undoubtedly face some serious regulatory hurdles, the mere possibility that such a deal could take place has prompted the Communications Workers of America — the nation’s largest labor union for communications workers, with more than 700,000 members — to issue a statement condemning the merger. More →
Over the past year, T-Mobile has unleashed a series of bold new initiatives aimed at stealing customers away from wireless giants AT&T and Verizon. So far, fellow underdog carrier Sprint has responded with… Framily Plans. However, leaked documents obtained by AndroidCentral suggest that Sprint is planning to step up its game a little bit in the near future by offering its subscribers Wi-Fi calling, a feature that essentially lets you have unlimited calling as long as you can hook up to a Wi-Fi network. Of course, T-Mobile has had Wi-Fi calling available in some capacity for years so Sprint isn’t exactly breaking new ground here. AndroidCentral’s leaked documents suggest that the first Sprint devices to get access to Wi-Fi calling will be the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and the Samsung Galaxy Mega.
Consumers and businesses in America spend billions on wireless service each year. And it’s no wonder — the average cost of cell phone service on each of the top four nationwide carriers in the U.S. is painfully high. One is higher than the rest, of course, and you’ll have to try to act surprised when you find out which it is. More →
The potential for a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile is tenuous at best, but a recent move by T-Mobile’s parent company might signal that the two wireless carriers are considering giving it a try anyway. Re/code came across a regulatory filing on Thursday which states that Deutsche Telekom has reorganized its U.S. holdings, moving them from Germany to a wholly owned subsidiary in the Netherlands. According to BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk, holding a stake in the Netherlands can be very “tax-efficient” for a company looking to sell its assets. More →
We already know that T-Mobile added roughly 869,000 net postpaid subscribers and 1.645 million total net customers in the fourth quarter of 2013. But how did that compare with the rest of the wireless industry? Business Insider reports that a new study from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows that in Q4 2013, T-Mobile showed a bigger increase in its customer base than Verizon, AT&T or Sprint showed over the same quarter. More →
Postpaid churn, or the number of postpaid subscribers that stop using a provider’s service during a specified period of time, is always a stat industry watchers keep an eye on when it comes to wireless carriers. Why? The U.S. wireless market is so saturated that most new subscribers a carrier sees in any given quarter are coming over from another carrier. With fourth-quarter financial results from each major carrier on the way, Cowen and Company has published its Q4 study on subscriber intent with regard to switching wireless service providers. Who might be the biggest winners and losers of Q4 when it comes to postpaid churn? Cowen’s new study could give us a good idea. More →
T-Mobile’s Uncarrier initiatives are great for a number of reasons. For one thing, they have direct and obvious benefits for consumers, who can enjoy a number of ways to save money thanks to T-Mobile’s new plans. For another, they’re shaking up an industry that has historically been anything but consumer friendly. There may end up being another, potentially more important benefit, however: T-Mobile’s Uncarrier policies and low plan prices may help convince regulators to block any potential takeover bid from Sprint. More →
T-Mobile CEO John Legere has become fond of using social media to taunt his rivals at Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. And on Tuesday, Legere came up with yet another way to use Twitter to annoy his competitors: By posting pictures of their former customers making the switch to T-Mobile. To rub salt even further into the wound, most of the pictures Legere posted were of customers who were also displaying “breakup letters” they’d written to their former carriers that included messages such as “BYE BYE AT&T I’m breaking up with you!” and “Peace out, Sprint, U suck!” T-Mobile first launched its “carrier breakup letter” initiative at CES last week where it offered to help customers write breakup letters informing rival carriers that they were being dumped for “the Uncarrier.” Some of Legere’s choice pictures follow below. More →
Just four months after Sprint’s “One Up” program was introduced, the carrier has quietly killed the initiative. Introduced as a delayed response to T-Mobile’s Uncarrier 2.0 effort dubbed “Jump,” One Up allowed Sprint subscribers to upgrade their smartphones long before their contracts expired when trading in their current working handsets. Alongside the rollout of its new “Framily” plans last week, however, Sprint quietly killed its One Up program. The carrier has yet to discuss exactly why One Up was killed so quickly, but the new Framily plans with unlimited data include a similar option where subscribers can upgrade their smartphones once per year.
An aggressive new wireless telecom pricing strategy led by a charismatic CEO hellbent on shaking up the industry? We’ve been there before, says NPD Group’s Eddie Hold, and it didn’t end in the glorious “uncarrier revolution” that many were expecting. As Hold notes, Sir Richard Branson’s prepaid Virgin Mobile carrier tried to do the same thing last decade and had some success until it got bought out by Sprint, which has typically been the kiss of death for smaller wireless carriers. More →