Two years ago, AT&T’s bid
to acquire T-Mobile
fell through (with AT&T
’s consolation prize a roaming agreement with Deutsche Telekom), but another one of the four major U.S. mobile carriers is considering a T-Mobile purchase.
This time it’s Sprint
that has magenta on the brain, according to the Wall Street Journal’s sources. Such an acquisition would consolidate the third- and fourth-largest U.S. mobile carriers into a single behemoth and would thereby cut the number of majors from four to three.
The official bid would come sometime in the first half of 2014 and could be worth as much as $20 billion or more. Of course, there are plenty of regulatory headaches to endure, and the fact that the U.S. Justice Department effectively scuttled the AT&T/T-Mobile merger in 2011 doesn’t bode especially well for Sprint’s chances.
Both Sprint and T-Mobile have seen plenty of high-level moving and shaking this year; Japan’s SoftBank acquired a majority stake
in the former, and the latter merged
to boost the companies’ combined subscriber total to 43 million.