The T-Mobile-Sprint will-they-won’t-they merger saga continues with a new episode that teases a happy ending. Apparently, the two carriers who’ve failed to reach a deal before are nearing an agreement that may be announced as soon as next week.
It was only last November that Sprint parent company SoftBank walked out on the deal at the last minute, and there’s always a chance the merger may fall again.
Apparently, T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank, the Japanese group that owns Sprint, are considering an agreement that would dictate how they would exercise voting control over the combined company.
Deutsche Telekom owns 63% of T-Mobile, while SoftBank owns 84.7% of Sprint. Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile are also finalizing the debt financing package they will use to fund the deal, Reuters reports.
If successful, the resulting company would have more than 127 million customers and would become a formidable adversary to Verizon and AT&T, the top two carriers in the US.
As it stands now, T-Mobile is still a distant third in the business, even though the company has gained plenty of subscribers thanks to John Legere’s “Uncarrier” shake-up. Sprint’s customer base has expanded too under CEO Marcelo Claure’s discounting policies, but fourth largest carrier in the US didn’t do as well as T-Mobile. Analysts say that Sprint can’t invest in its network and compete in the market without T-Mobile.
Their inability to find common ground wasn’t the only thing that killed a T-Mobile-Sprint merger in the past. Regulators could always block the deal, as it happened back in 2014 when the Obama administration expressed antitrust concerns about the deal.