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Latest Sprint Drama: Deal Brewing With Charter, Comcast?

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Sprint reportedly is in talks with Charter Communications and Comcast about a partnership to augment the cable companies’ wireless offerings.

Sprint, controlled by Japan’s SoftBank Group, has entered into a two-month period of exclusive negotiations with Charter and Comcast, Reuters reported. The move reportedly has delayed continued merger talks between Sprint and T-Mobile until the end of next month.

Lisa Belot, Sprint’s corporate communications manager said, “This is not something we would comment on.” Charter also declined comment and Comcast couldn’t be reached for comment.

451 Research's Rich Karpinski

451 Research’s Rich Karpinski

Charter and Comcast have agreed that they would not do deals in the wireless space for a year without each other’s consent.

Rich Karpinski, 451 Research’s principal analyst of mobile operator strategies, said the best deal for Sprint is with T-Mobile, creating the strongest wireless play to complete with AT&T and Verizon.

“That said, there’s no doubt that Comcast and other cable companies want to and need to get into wireless,” he said. “What’s not clear is what is their best path forward and whether any moves right now would be successful in the short term.”

Last fall, Comcast unveiled plans for a wireless service, using its Wi-Fi hotspots and airwaves leased from Verizon. The cable company anticipated launching the service this year.

Last week, German publication Handelsblatt reported that T-Mobile’s Germany-based parent company, Deutsche Telekom, is preparing a plan to merge with Sprint. Deutsche Telekom reportedly wants to maintain control of the combined company after an all-stock deal.


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