Deutsche Telekom might hold off selling its stake in T-Mobile US — at least until the dust settles on forthcoming US spectrum auctions and the regulatory mood shifts more positively, said Reuters.
Only one bid sits on the table for T-Mobile US — and that’s from France’s Iliad, about which Deutsche Telekom is lukewarm. Iliad has given itself until mid-October to freshen up its offer with new finance and partners.
Meanwhile Deutsche Telekom’s thinking has shifted in regard to its US operations, which under the maverick leadership of John Legere have seen rising sales.
Elsewhere in the Deutsche Telekom empire the picture is not so rosy, so holding onto a rejuvenated US operation makes sense, goes the argument.
However, the counter argument is that T-Mobile US is currently at the high point of the Legere-inspired turnaround and could face intense competition from a revived Sprint under the leadership of new CEO Marcelo Claure.
Nevertheless Deutsche Telekom is warming to a hold-off until the completion late next year of US spectrum auctions.
Bid talk between auction participants is forbidden, so holding off until auctions are over would deepen the pool of potential bidders to potentially include the likes of Dish and cable operators.
Hanging on until next year might also see the regulatory climate shift more positively. Currently regulators such as the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice have set their stall against any kind of M&A activity between leading operators in the US.
Deutsche Telekom was reportedly happy to merge T-Mobile US with near rival Sprint but the deal was blocked by regulators.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler spelt out his opposition to leading operators joining forces in a recent speech at the CTIA show, covered by Mobile World Live.