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 →
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.