The on-again, off-again merger of Sprint and T-Mobile USA is apparently off again—for now.
Sprint owner SoftBank is “abandoning its efforts” to merge the carrier with T-Mobile, 华尔街日报 报道 today while quoting “people familiar with the matter.” A month ago, reports indicated that a merger would be announced by the end of October and that T-Mobile majority owner Deutsche Telekom would emerge with a majority stake in the combined company.
But SoftBank’s board met this past weekend “and expressed concern about giving up control,” the 日志 wrote today. “Instead of a merger, Sprint plans to make a significant investment in its network,” the 日志 report also said.
Together, T-Mobile and Sprint would rival Verizon Wireless and AT&T in size. But a merger would leave the US with three nationwide wireless carriers instead of the current four.
T-Mobile has done well as an independent the past few years, and consumers have benefited. T-Mobile’s embrace of unlimited data plans pushed the other carriers to make similar offers, helping customers avoid data overage fees that can quickly drive up a monthly bill. Wireless data prices have been falling。
Sprint abandoned a bid for T-Mobile in 2014 when it became clear that the Obama administration would block it in order to preserve the existing levels of competition. Negotiations have heated up since Donald Trump became president, as the new administration is 预期 to allow more big mergers than its predecessor.
Sprint/T-Mobile merger rumors never seem to die completely, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the companies hold more merger talks in the future. We contacted Sprint and SoftBank about today’s report and will provide an update if we get one.