MVNOs in firing line whatever T-Mobile, Sprint decide - Mobile World Live

MVNOs in firing line whatever T-Mobile, Sprint decide

03 NOV 2017

T-Mobile US returned to Sprint with a new offer in hopes the pair can salvage crumbling merger talks, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, but a source told Mobile World Live (MWL) the deal talks could have negative impacts on the MVNO space whether they come to fruition or not.

It is unclear what changes T-Mobile made to its proposal, but the conciliatory offer comes just days after reports noted Sprint parent SoftBank was looking to exit talks with T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom. The pair were said to be at an impasse over which company would retain a controlling stake in the merged operator. New York Post indicated SoftBank was once again eyeing outside options, including a potential tie-up with US cable operator Charter Communications.

While the renewed talks could still fall apart, WSJ noted a final decision on the matter could be reached “within weeks”.

Reshaping US wireless
OpenSignal CEO Brendan Gill told Mobile World Live in September a Sprint-T-Mobile combo would have the ability to build a “monster” 4G LTE network.

But an executive in the MVNO space said the deal could reshape the US wireless landscape in other ways.

The source told MWL T-Mobile and Sprint are two of the largest wholesalers in the MVNO space. Having two operators in the market rather than one helps ensure price competition, meaning a merger could potentially damage the dynamic.

However, a failure in the merger talks could also carry negative implications.

“If there is no merger, it’s because ultimately egos at the top stopped the deal, and that will result in even more aggressive attacks against each other as animosity would be real,” the source said.

“That hurts MVNOs as part of the broader industry.”


Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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