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SoftBank in Talks to Combine Sprint and T-Mobile

By Kimberly Koerth
January 22, 2014 - News

SoftBank Corp., which owns nearly 80 percent of Sprint, is in direct talks with Deutsche Telekom to purchase T-Mobile US, according to CNBC.

Deutsche Telekom recently transferred ownership of its 67-percent stake in T-Mobile from a German holding company to a Dutch company, contributing to the rumors that it may be looking to sell the business.

Sprint and T-Mobile have wanted to combine for a long time in order to better compete with the two top U.S. mobile carriers, Verizon and AT&T. Sprint's CFO has said three major wireless carriers would offer more effective competition, especially considering Sprint and T-Mobile's combined customers is equal to about the same amount Verizon and AT&T each have.

Communications Workers of America (CWA) issued a statement asking U.S. regulators to make it clear that the SoftBank/T-Mobile US deal is a non-starter. CWA points out that the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission insisted that four national wireless carriers were necessary for competition when they opposed AT&T's bid for T-Mobile in 2011. At that time, T-Mobile was characterized as beneficial to customers because they forced the other three carriers to offer competitive prices.

"It would be irresponsible now for regulators to endorse the bid by SoftBank, a company that brings much less to the table for consumers and workers than the AT&T bid.," the CWA statement said. "The financial sector will benefit from this deal, but it would result in job loss for American workers and likely higher prices and fewer choices for consumers. Regulators need to make clear that this deal is a non-starter."

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