T-Mobile and Sprint move closer to merging

Tyrone Stewart

T-Mobile StoreT-Mobile is reportedly closing in on an agreement to merge with rival mobile network provider Sprint under ‘tentative terms’.

According to Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter, Japan’s SoftBank – parent company of Sprint – will own between 40 and 50 per cent of the combined company, while T-Mobile’s majority owner Deutsche Telekom will own a majority stake.

Once the terms are finalised and reviewed by both companies, a deal could follow by the end of October – although these talks may still fall through. The deal would also face the usual regulatory scrutiny faced by any merger.

Should the merger be successful, the combination of third and fourth largest US wireless carriers would create a business with more than 130m subscribers, placing it just behind Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile has a market capitalisation of $52bn, while Sprint’s market capitalisation is $32bn.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son abandoned an attempt to acquire T-Mobile for Sprint back in 2014, because regulators were worried about customers losing out. That acquisition would have put SoftBank in control of the merged company, with Deutsche Telekom only being a minority shareholder.