So the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger last year went down in flames. So what, says Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.
Hesse believes regulators in the U.S. will still consider mega telecom deals even though that one flopped, and his company might mull some big M&A of its own in a couple of years, Reuters reported Hesse as saying during a webcast of an investor conference this week.
Sprint’s boss wasn’t specific about what type of merger he would be interested in, only commenting that it probably will be 2014 before America’s third-largest carrier weighs into the M&A waters again. He wants to wait until the company is finished with its two-year-long upgrade to 4G LTE technology; its first markets are set to go live this summer. But Hesse wouldn’t rule out merger talk before then if there’s a risk of a competitor getting a leg up.
"[We will] look at the risk and opportunities on the synergies side and those will have to be weighed," he said during the webcast. The timing right now isn’t ideal, he pointed out, admitting that Sprint’s share price ($2.38 as of 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday) complicates the issue.
Sprint did consider buying MetroPCS earlier this year the nation’s fifth-largest mobile network operator, but its board put the kibosh on that, Reuters said.
Saying four is not necessarily a "magic number" referring to the big four carriers Hesse thinks regulators will be more open to mergers that don’t involve AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the No. 1 and No. 2 carriers in terms of subscriber numbers.