Sprint Said to Be Gunning for T-Mobile

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sprint may, in the first half of 2014, propose to buy T-Mobile for around $20 billion.

Sprint is said to be investigating regulatory concerns so it can decide whether to pursue a deal. In late 2011, AT&T, the second-largest wireless operator in the United States, dropped its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile due to governmental opposition. The WSJ said on Friday that Sprint would face similar pushback, as a pairing with T-Mobile would take U.S. wireless options down to three from four. 

The WSJ said SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son is driving the T-Mobile effort. Japan’s SoftBank earlier this year bought control of Sprint and Son has not been shy about his intention to increase Sprint’s market share in the United States.

Sprint may rethink its plan if it finds that antitrust authorities would not favor a T-Mobile deal, the WSJ reported. “The smaller carrier is wary of wasting more time on an ultimately fruitless merger deal,” WSJ wrote.

But if a transaction passed muster, a combined Sprint-T-Mobile would boast about 53 million postpaid subscribers. That’s compared to Verizon Wireless’s 95 million and AT&T’s 72 million.

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