Sprint, T-Mobile Are Never, Ever, Ever Merging Again

The announcement marks the latest failed attempt to combine the third- and fourth-largest US wireless carriers, as Sprint parent SoftBank Group Corp, and T-Mobile parent, Deutsche Telekom AG, show unwillingness to part with too much of their prized USA telecom assets. But T-Mobile lobbed in a last minute counter offer and there was hope again that a deal could be salvaged. A merged T-Mobile-Sprint would have been a major challenger to number two AT&T, and could have given Verizon a run for the top spot in a few years. The fact that they've made official statements about the talks falling through does imply that there's a very slim chance that talks will ever resume, even though both companies know that it will be a game-changer for them.

That was the message from T-Mobile CEO John Legere to his employees on Saturday after the Bellevue, Wash. -based wireless carrier ended potential merger talks with Sprint.

Sprint President and CEO Marcelo Claure said that "while we couldn't reach an agreement to combine our companies, we certainly recognize the benefits of scale through a potential combination". However, we have agreed that it is best to move forward on our own. With the new Trump administration, it was thought regulators might be more relaxed.

T-Mobile is a better position as a standalone company, analysts have said. The company has also badgered rivals with its unlimited data plans.

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Legere conveyed to Mr. Claure that T-Mobile and its parent company, Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG, didn't want the deal to fall apart, the report said. At this point, talk of a merger is between Softbank and Charter, rather than having direct involvement with Sprint. Both companies may have to sort that out sooner rather than later. SoftBank was prepared to give up control to do a deal with T-Mobile, sources familiar with the company's thinking told Reuters in February. However, it is possible the deal will fail to go through regardless.

It comes as Sprint has somewhat struggled in an increasingly competitive USA mobile market.

Industry executives have expressed optimism about the prospect of consolidation.

  • Delia Davidson