The likelihood of a major operator shakeup in the US appears to be diminishing following reports overnight that Deutsche Telekom is not preparing a bid for Sprint and will instead attempt to improve T-Mobile USA’s fortunes on its own. CNBC, citing a person close to Sprint, says the two companies are not in talks, whilst Dow Jones Newswires reports that Deutsche Telekom will try by the end of the year to turn around its US mobile business and isn’t planning a major acquisition there during this time. Meanwhile a Financial Times (FT) report states that Deutsche Telekom’s top two shareholders – the German government and private equity group Blackstone – have told its management that it has until the middle of next year to turn round the German telecoms group’s ailing US mobile phone business. The FT notes that both shareholders reportedly feel that deals aimed at transforming the business, the country’s fourth-largest operator, are not yet an option.
T-Mobile USA has struggled against rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless, and was late to market with 3G services. In the second quarter revenues shrank for the first time compared with the same period last year. It is at least attempting to ramp up its service offering, with reports yesterday noting that the operator plans to begin deploying HSPA 7.2 technology (providing theoretical peak download speeds of 7.2 Mb/s) by year-end, mirroring similar plans by AT&T. Additionally, T-Mobile USA aims to launch HSPA+ technology (offering theoretical peak download speeds of 21Mb/s) sometime next year.