Almost as fast as the rumors began, talks of a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile have been officially called off. T-Mobile has announced that discussions on a potential merger, rumors of which surfaced first in September, of the Uncarrier and Sprint have ended because the two companies were unable to find mutually agreeable terms. Even if the two mobile carriers had been able to come to agreeable terms, they certainly would have needed regulatory approval. Historically, regulators have been unwilling to approve a merger that limits competition in the mobile market and with the "duopoly" already firmly in place, as TMo CEO John Legere likes to refer to his primary competition, another consolidation would definitely limit customer choice in some regions of the US.
"The prospect of combining with Sprint has been compelling for a variety of reasons, including the potential to create significant benefits for consumers and value for shareholders. However, we have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile’s shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance and track record," said John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile US, Inc. "Going forward, T-Mobile will continue disrupting this industry and bringing our proven Un-carrier strategy to more customers and new categories – ultimately redefining the mobile Internet as we know it. We’ve been out-growing this industry for the last 15 quarters, delivering outstanding value for shareholders, and driving significant change across wireless. We won’t stop now."
Had the two carriers come to favorable terms and then passed regulatory scrutiny, the new combined company would have boasted about 130 million customers nationwide. That would have still left the merged entity in third place with Verizon Wireless boasting 146 million customers and AT&T boasting 136 million sitting in first and second places respectively. This isn’t the first time that Sprint and T-Mobile eyed a merger. Back in 2014, talks surfaced about a potential deal, but was met with pushback from regulators leading to the end of discussion before it went very far. The hope this time out was that the Trump administration may have been more favorable on the merger.
Sprint President and CEO and Softbank Board member Marcelo Claure said, "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. We know we have significant assets, including our rich spectrum holdings, and are accelerating significant investments in our network to ensure our continued growth. As convergence in the connectivity marketplace continues, we believe significant opportunities exist to establish strong partnerships across multiple industries. We are determined to continue our efforts to change the wireless industry and compete fiercely. We look forward to continuing to take the fight to the duopoly and newly emerging competitors."