T-Mobile US inked a definitive agreement to acquire Ka’ena and its subsidiaries, prepaid brand Mint Mobile, international phone service Ultra Mobile and MVNA Plum, for a maximum of $1.4 billion, to expand its subscriber base and marketing efforts.

The operator will pay 39 per cent of the purchase price in cash and 61 per cent through stock. It stated the final price will be based upon Ka’ena’s performance during certain periods before and after the deal closes, which T-Mobile expects later this year subject to customary conditions.

A move for Mint Mobile was mooted earlier this year, with Bloomberg reporting the MVNO had long been on the block.

Mint Mobile founders David Glickman and Rizwan Kassim will join T-Mobile to manage the brands, which “will generally operate as a separate business unit”.

Part-owner, actor Ryan Reynolds will continue to promote Mint Mobile.

Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s network under an MVNO arrangement and MVNA Plum expanded a wholesale agreement with it in 2022.

Ultra Mobile is also on the operator’s 5G network.

In addition to bringing Mint Mobile subscribers in-house, the deal covers the MVNO’s sales, marketing, digital and service assets.

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert cited Mint Mobile’s “incredibly successful digital direct-to-consumer” business as a key draw, adding the MVNO and Ultra Mobile will in turn benefit from its “scale and owner’s economics”.

The operator aims to benefit from Mint Mobile’s direct-to-consumer marketing expertise, adding the acquisition will in turn enable all the Ka’ena companies to offer competitive pricing and greater device inventory to consumers seeking low-cost tariffs.

Although T-Mobile topped the tables for post-paid net subscriber additions in Q4 2022, it sees prepaid services as a means to bolster its overall user numbers and potentially convert more to contracts.

The operator stated Mint Mobile and Ultra Mobile complements its current prepaid brands.