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Businesses Communications Network United States Wireless Networking

Sprint, T-Mobile Aiming To Reach Merger Deal Next Week (reuters.com) 79

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: U.S. wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint have made progress in negotiating merger terms and are aiming to successfully complete deal talks as early as next week. The combined company would have more than 127 million customers and could create more formidable competition for the No.1 and No.2 wireless players, Verizon and AT&T, amid a race to expand offerings in 5G, the next generation of wireless technology. T-Mobile majority-owner Deutsche Telekom and Japan's SoftBank, which controls Sprint, are considering an agreement that would dictate how they exercise voting control over the combined company. This could allow Deutsche Telekom to consolidate the combined company on its books, even without owning a majority stake. Deutsche Telekom owns more than 63 percent of T-Mobile, while SoftBank owns 84.7 percent of Sprint. Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile are also in the process of finalizing the debt financing package they will use to fund the deal, the sources said. There is no certainty that a deal will be reached, the sources cautioned.
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Sprint, T-Mobile Aiming To Reach Merger Deal Next Week

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  • This would be considered for review by the Feds due to the Antitrust act, right?
    • Trump will block it like he did Broadcom/Qualcomm. These are foreign companies that want to compete with American companies. Can not have!
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by Dallas May ( 4891515 )

        I would say that Trump will do whatever the person who pays him the most tell him to, but the reality is Trump will do whatever he is told to do by the last person he talks to.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          He is so dumb he managed to end the Korean war today.
          Unemployment at historic lows.
          ISIS defeated.
          Syria likely to not use chemical weapons on their people again.
          Tax cuts for middle class.

          I'll take a double helping of stupidity if we get results like that.

          • "he managed to end the Korean war today."
            Did he? Or is the North Korea dictatorship just buying themselves more time and nothing is actually going to improve. But I won't be cynical here. If Trump can pull this off, he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact I'll take that as a step forward, and say that any president that just doesn't go to war deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

            "Unemployment at historic lows."
            That was Obama's economy not Trump's. And even still it's dangerous to put too much faith in unemploy

          • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @11:13AM (#56513593) Homepage Journal

            He is so dumb he managed to end the Korean war today.

            Trump had nothing to do with it, and there's still no peace treaty signed. The two Koreas agreed that they should end the war and pledged to work toward it, but that's happened before and they're a long way from an actual treaty.

            Unemployment at historic lows.

            No, it's at 17-year lows. In 2000, the unemployment rate reached a record low of 3.8% in April, and had a four-month run of 3.9% from September to December.

            Unemployment rates for blacks and Latinos are at record lows, but even then only by a tenth of a percent. For blacks, December 2017 has a 6.8% rate and February and March 2018 saw rates of 6.9% each. Compare to April 2000 when it was 7.0%. For Latinos, the record low of 4.8% was first achieved in October 2006 and duplicated in June, October, and November 2017.

            ISIS defeated.

            Egypt, Syria, and Iraq would likely disagree. Egypt is dealing with ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula, Syria is still dealing with remnants, and Iraq is back to fighting them after some of the groups that fled Raqqa tried to take territory in Iraq again. Groups following or inspired by ISIS are still operating in Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, and the Philippines, and may be active in Pakistan, Chad, and Tunisia as well.

            Syria likely to not use chemical weapons on their people again.

            They said that after the first time he used cruise missiles after a chemical weapons attack, and that one actually did damage to real infrastructure and destroyed some aircraft. Many more chemical attacks happened.

            Tax cuts for middle class.

            Most people are only taking home a few extra dollars per week, and while a few companies have handed out raises and bonuses, they are by far the exception. Some of the bonuses, like those handed out by AT&T, were planned long before the tax cut was passed but played up as being made possible by it. Those bonuses totaled $200 million for 200,000 employees. Compare that to the $29.5 billion in profit it posted in 2017. They were crowing about sending 0.7% of their profits to the employees. Meanwhile, compensation for the top five executives in 2017 was more than $74 million.

            I'll take a double helping of stupidity if we get results like that.

            The results so far are paper thin. It wouldn't take much to knock them down. Trump can do that by pushing a trade war, something he seems intent on doing. Even withdrawing from the Iran nuclear treaty could start stacking the deck against the economy given the significant sales that companies like Boeing have lined up with Tehran.

            • He is so dumb he managed to end the Korean war today.

              Trump had nothing to do with it, and there's still no peace treaty signed. The two Koreas agreed that they should end the war and pledged to work toward it, but that's happened before and they're a long way from an actual treaty.

              I think Trump is a reckless goofball, but experts and the South Korean Foreign Minister [cbsnews.com] are crediting him for pressuring North Korea to come to the table. The fact that he's a reckless goofball means you have to take the threat

              • North Korea has played all the sides over the decades. Stalin wasn't actually all that keen on the North invading the South (the USSR still hadn't rebuilt its forces and was critically short on men, something it was desperate to hide), but Kim Il-Sung managed to convince him that China had his back though Kim was also convincing China that Stalin had his back. Ultimately, the Soviets sent minimal ground forces but numerous pilots who were ordered to never risk getting shot down over the South for fear of re

              • I think Trump is a reckless goofball, but experts and the South Korean Foreign Minister [cbsnews.com] are crediting him for pressuring North Korea to come to the table.

                No, no, it's all a coincidence, like the cold war ending under Reagan.

                The smart set all say so, just like they did then!

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Korean War ending is a symbolic gesture, the real problem is getting the DPRK to denuclearize.

            Unemployment is historically low 'cause it's the end of a 10 year down trend. Trump didn't even add jobs faster than Obama did. He just continued the same policy.

            ISIS was defeated before Trump took office.

            Syria was totally fazed by a single attack on a single airfield that they were given heads-up warning about through Trump's stupid fucking Twitter account. Yeah...

            They made the tax cuts go away after a few years,

    • Yes, this will have to be approved. I would give it a coin toss on whether they do or not. Going from 4 carriers to 3 isn't making anyone happy, but is that enough to justify a block? I don't know.

      • It begs the question, could telecoms get much worse?

        The answer is: hell yes it could get worse. The bar is so high to get investment capital that even LEO satellites with WiFi or whatever goofy next-gen GSM/LTE/gigglyBS arrives to cover the USA will be insanely expensive. Less carriers is not more.

        Everyone wants a payday. The newly merged organization won't be any smarter than the old one, just more bosses and fewer actual workers. The CSRs won't get brighter, coverage won't get better, services won't be fi

        • Sprint is going away sooner or later. It's extremely unlikely that they're going to get their act together enough to suddenly boost their subscriber count enough to remain competitive. It's either merge with T-Mobile now or get sold off in a bankruptcy auction later. The merger is the best outcome for consumers.

          Though you mention a good point about LEO satellites. SpaceX has initial approval for its 4000+ satellite constellation. It just might allow entrants (or even SpaceX) to offer a competitive, all-data

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No problem, just merge them all into 1 company. They are all doing the same, what is the point to have 4 companies competing against each other?
    It creates huge overhead! 1 maximum two regionally independent companies would be enough for sure. It will improve competition on the market!

  • Iâ(TM)m with T-Mobile and Iâ(TM)ll do anything I can to avoid Sprint like the plague. Everything they do is garbage, from customer service to hidden fees.
    • Sprint has ancient 1980's & early 1990's era equipment, Sprint uses CDMA which is obsolete, almost all cell phone carriers use GSM which is a better standard
      • CDMA was a superior (and much newer) standard to GSM, but that is a moot point as everyone is moving to voice-over-LTE. Of all the carriers, Sprint is the one lagging behind in this transition. The company itself doesn't appear to be well managed, seemingly having never recovered from that disastrous Nextel merger.
        • by slew ( 2918 )

          CDMA was a superior (and much newer) standard to GSM, but that is a moot point as everyone is moving to voice-over-LTE. Of all the carriers, Sprint is the one lagging behind in this transition. The company itself doesn't appear to be well managed, seemingly having never recovered from that disastrous Nextel merger.

          Nextel isn't what killed Sprint. Early and heavy investment in 4G Wi-max technology set them back a whole generation of technology when the rest of the industry went 4G-LTE. They scrambled the whole technology generation trying to transition to 4G-LTE after having wasted most of their money on WiMax.

        • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

          The company itself doesn't appear to be well managed, seemingly having never recovered from that disastrous Nextel merger.

          Exactly why I don't want them merging with T-Mobile, and also a reason the last merger talks never went through. Sprints management wanted to be in control of the new company and the other side didn't want that. What's their new idea now, that is allowing these talks to start again is what I want to know. Unless it's pretty much "T-Mobile takes over Sprint" I'm not seeing any reason to support this merger -- in fact how 'bout they just not, and stay the course to save us any worrying. T-Mobile has been maki

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        T-mobile has experience in this type of acquisition thought.

        They purchased Metro PCS and converted them over fairly effectively.

        They handled it much better than when Cingular did the switch with their own customers back in the day.

        I'm actually somewhat optimistic that this merge could be not horrible as a customer. Sprint sucks so bad, and has given up (did not invest in the last spectrum auction for 600MHz), they hardly count as a competitor. I have seen very little evidence that they are doing anything to

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Protip: you can turn off "smart" punctuation on your iThing, and it won't hemorrhage broken unicode into slashdot's comments.
      • Dude ty, that always happens when I post to slashdot
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile and am MUCH happier with T-Mobile. I hope they don't screw it up.

  • Sprint uses CDMA while T-Mobile uses GSM, i bet i can guess who the boss will be in this merger, T-Mobile is basically going to take over Sprint, which is okay by me, the sooner CDMA dies and all that old equipment is removed from service the better
    • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:28AM (#56512987) Homepage Journal

      Sprint is migrating to the LTE variant of GSM, so their cdmaOne/cdma2000 network is increasingly a legacy/gap filler rather than their primary means to providing service, and would eventually be turned off. So that would be happening anyway, albeit more slowly than will happen if T-Mo takes control.

      That said, T-Mobile being in control is pretty much a foregone conclusion. T-Mobile is well run and is growing. Sprint PCS has been beleaguered for a longer period than Apple was. It's always been poorly run, with no sense of direction. They botched the NEXTEL merger, initially went for WiMAX instead of LTE, and recently their "iPhone only" thing showed a complete lack of understanding of the market.

      T-Mo has its faults, but it's almost always (with the exception of the period starting a year or two before they tried to merge with AT&T until Legere's takeover) been an extremely well run company with a focus on respecting their customers, building their network on quality open standards. (I sound like a shill, but I honestly have a high level of respect for them that I just don't have for the others, and it's based upon personal experience. That period I mention that included the AT&T merger was a bitter experience, proof any company can go to pot.)

      • Sprint using WiMax basically killed that technology. It would have been a great way to get last mile access to people who weren't near towns or main internet connectivity. Sprint screwed up trying to use it for mobile data. I wish someone would pick it up and run with it where it should have been used. Even slow service is better than dial up that many rural homes are stuck with.
      • The failed AT&T merger is what likely saved T-Mobile. It gave them the needed cash to buy the additional spectrum they needed to be competitive.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Protocols are not going to show who runs whom.

      I'm hoping T-Mobile controls Sprint, rather than the other way around. Sprint doesn't innovate, and their customer service, in my experience, has been absymal. I still remember the days where they would never allow a device on their CDMA network that wasn't theirs.

      T-Mobile, OTOH, if the device works on the right bands, pop a SIM into it, enjoy.

      If Sprint runs T-mobile, looks like I might just move to a MVNO. The other way around, I'll continue to be a happy T-

    • Sprint uses CDMA while T-Mobile uses GSM...

      Except that basically everybody is in the middle of transitioning to some variation of LTE, so it'll all be the same in the end, anyway.

    • the sooner CDMA dies and all that old equipment is removed from service the better

      Um, CDMA won the CDMA vs GSM war. GSM used TDMA - each phone gets its own timeslice, and they take turns talking to the tower. CDMA allows each phone to transmit whenever they want, and used orthogonal codes to separate out each phone's transmissions. The difference didn't matter much with low-bandwidth applications like voice. But when 3G data rolled out, CDMA absolutely destroyed GSM. Giving each phone a timeslice mea

      • Um, CDMA won the CDMA vs GSM war

        CDMA can refer to a set of standards created by Qualcomm, or it can refer to the Code Division Multiple Access form of data modulation and transmission.

        GSM is a set of standards. So in the above sentence, the only thing you can be claiming is "The Qualcomm standards won the war against GSM."

        This is not true. The GSM family of standards continues to exist and be developed. Qualcomm has stopped developing more of its "CDMA" standards and has advised its partners to migrat

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:20AM (#56512931) Homepage

    This could allow Deutsche Telekom to consolidate the combined company on its books...

    Does that mean that the new joined company will keep T-Mobile's management?

    Because I'll tell you what, I'm a T-Mobile customer, and I'm pretty happy. The coverage may not be quite as good as Verizon, but there are no hidden fees, no mysterious extra charges, no vague limitations. They don't really do market segmentation with deceptive pricing. They don't try to fight me if I just want to buy an unlocked phone, forgo their subsidy, and have a lower monthly price. The terms of their international roaming are pretty awesome. In the US, they pretty much set the standard for what a cell carrier should be.

    Meanwhile, Sprint has been a disaster for years. Even setting aside all the public well-known stuff, I used to have a job that involved dealing with all the major carriers, and Sprint was the worst. They were disorganized. The people who worked there were awful. Their internal systems were poorly designed. That was several years ago, and maybe it got better, but I have no faith in that company.

    So if the deal is that T-Mobile gets Sprint's infrastructure to add on to their own, to improve coverage, cool. Great. But if people from Sprint are going to be running anything, then this is very sad news.

    • You summed it up exactly. If T-Mobile runs the show, all is well, as T-Mobile does a great job as a cellular provider. However, if Sprint execs start running things, there is no real reason to stay, because instead of added cool stuff, we likely would get added fees and surcharges. While I've not had much experience with Sprint, I have not read much that is positive about them, and it seems that most people who were on Sprint moved to Verizon.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        However, if Sprint execs start running things, ...we likely would get added fees and surcharges.

        ...it seems that most people who were on Sprint moved to Verizon.

        As a T-Mobile subscriber, this sounds like "out of the frying pan, into the fire" to me.

  • by Dallas May ( 4891515 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:25AM (#56512969)

    We need to organize a letter writing campaign to the governmental authority (whoever that is. The FTC?) to block this. We don't need to drop from 4 wireless carriers to 3.

    • But it might be nice to go from two major carriers to three major carriers.

      AT&T and Verizon continue to charge substantially more than what T-Mobile and Sprint PCS do, while being more than happy to treat their customers appallingly. That tells me that neither T-Mobile or Sprint have any market power to speak of, and shouldn't be considered competitors to the big two.

  • Wait -- again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zarmanto ( 884704 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @09:51AM (#56513139) Journal

    I've lost count... how many times has T-Mobile tried to merge with another carrier? And so far, hasn't each and every attempt been rebuffed by antitrust concerns?

    Why are we hearing about this, yet again?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They were payed handsomely for their failed merger with AT&T. Used the money to buy spectrum and expand their reach. Why not do it again?

    • AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile but was shut down on antitrust concerns. AT&T had to pay a $3 billion breakup fee to T-Mobile because the deal fell through.

      Twice before, Sprint and T-Mobile have tried to merge. The sticking point was not antitrust concerns but how much control SoftBank would have over the unified company.

  • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Friday April 27, 2018 @11:07AM (#56513553)

    ... it had better be T-mobile that runs the show.

    My wife has long had Sprint, I have long had T-mobile. Sprint sucks, in every conceivable way. Super pricey, awful service.

    Latest Sprint example; she finally got a new phone ... gave up waiting for any of the affordable phones to be "in stock" from Sprint (affordable models never "in stock", how believable is that?) and got an unlocked phone elsewhere. Got a SIM from Sprint, it took 2.5 hours on chat with Sprint support, literally, to get the stupid thing working.

    Never had any problems with T-mobile. Sprint had better not screw them up.

  • Sprint network and business sucks - I left them long ago for T-Mobile, which offers so much more and such better service, including true global phone and data connectivity which is included in most post pay plans. I am really skeptical of the benefit of this merger for current T-Mobile customers considering Sprint will ultimately be the primary stakeholder and voting block. :(
  • Seems Sprint walked away last time since wanted control and / or closer to $8 - $9 per share. Now rumor valuation around $6 - $6.50. So much for holding the strategic investment which was undervalued ? A combination seems logical can cut a lot of overlapping functions , site costs etc and reduce undercutting each other. Best of luck. A stronger #3 will be able to roll out new tech such as 5G sooner.

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