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Unread 2017-09-19, 01:54 PM   #251
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Report: T-Mobile, Sprint in Active Talks Regarding Merger






According to sources close to the matter, who spoke to CNBC, T-Mobile and Sprint are in active talks regarding a stock-for-stock merger. If you feel like you’re having déjà vu, don’t worry, you’re not. Reports such as this have seen light before, but the reported deal fell through in mid-2014.
This time around, things seem serious again, but we could still be weeks away from any deal being struck. As reported, T-Mobile has yet to complete any due diligence on Sprint, and to further complicate the situation, heavy thought must be put into whether antitrust regulators would allow for the #3 and #4 ranked US carriers to merge.
Detailed inside of the report, given the all-stock nature of the deal, “Softbank would emerge as a large minority holder in any combination. While T-Mobile CEO John Legere is expected to lead any combination that results from a merger, [Softbank’s Masayoshi] Son has made it clear he wants a say in how the company is run.”
So, yeah, the main takeaway is that talks of a merger are happening, but it’s still possible that nothing happens. We’ll keep you posted as the story develops.
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Unread 2017-11-03, 09:21 AM   #252
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T-Mobile proposal might salvage a merger with Sprint

A WSJ source says Sprint's owner is considering a new offer.






Eduardo Munoz / Reuters


Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Sprint's parent company, Japan's SoftBank group, was going to call off the carrier's impending merger with T-Mobile. They'd worked out a broad agreement but couldn't agree on an ownership ratio. But a source told the Wall Street Journal today that T-Mobile produced a new offer that Sprint is considering, meaning they could reach a deal in a few weeks. Or they could, once again, disagree on the terms and leave the merger behind.




We don't know the new terms, but according to the Wall Street Journal, T-Mobile is working to keep the deal alive. T-Mobile CEO John Legere met with his Sprint counterpart Marcelo Claure on Wednesday night, and the latter company's board met on Thursday to discuss. Their top concern: Sprint's valuation and how much its chairman Masayoshi Son, who runs SoftBank, would be able to direct the course of the combined company.
Son had called off the previous deal, which would have given T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom full control of the firm arising from the merged carriers. The new deal's terms are still unclear.
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Unread 2017-11-03, 09:23 AM   #253
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With T-Mobile Deal All But Dead, Softbank Looks To Charter





Sprint parent company Softbank is reportedly chatting up Charter Communications about a possible merger, amid indications that Sprint’s merger deal with T-Mobile US has tanked. This comes after Softbank reportedly torpedoed merger talks between Sprint and T-Mobile due to disagreements over how the combined company would be run. At this point, talk of a merger is between Softbank and Charter, rather than having direct involvement with Sprint. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son personally approached Charter about a merger, and talks at this point are reported to be strictly exploratory and preliminary in nature, but include a number of higher-ups from both companies.

Sprint’s previously explored deal with T-Mobile would most likely be completely off the table, should talks between Charter and Softbank take off. It’s unclear exactly what measure of control Charter would be able to exercise over Sprint, or over Softbank’s other ventures and holdings. One thing that would be fairly likely in the event of such a deal is Sprint using Charter’s wealth of spectrum to fill gaps in its own wireless coverage, and there would probably be some sort of partnership on Wi-Fi, as well. Charter is the second largest cable company in the United States and has numerous Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country that its customers can use for free. Naturally, the increased spectrum holdings and nationwide Wi-Fi would make 5G deployment and IoT management a bit easier for Sprint, though there would be some growing pains as the integration began.







Softbank is one of Japan’s premier telecom companies and has also ventured into robotics and other fields in the tech world. Its wide portfolio and clout have made it a good fit to own and operate Sprint from above thus far, though that was not always the case; at one point, Masayoshi Son was very open about the fact that the company was losing money thanks to Sprint. The previously proposed merger with T-Mobile was supposed to help both carriers fill gaps in coverage and increase their speed and capacity, along with allowing spectrum interlock to make 5G deployment across diversified solutions easier across the entire US market. News of the merger falling through due to a breakdown in power management is not entirely shocking, given the massive dose of personality that CEO John Legere has injected into T-Mobile over his five year tenure; to lose any control over the company’s management or image would almost certainly break any talk of a merger, though it’s still unclear exactly how things unfolded to lead to where we are today.
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Unread 2017-11-06, 09:56 AM   #254
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Mobile and Sprint Formally Call Off Merger Discussions



It’s hard to imagine that we are done for good this time, but T-Mobile and Sprint have (for now) formally and officially called off merger talks. T-Mobile released a statement over the weekend acknowledging that the two companies “were unable to find mutually agreeable terms.”
In recent weeks (months?), it seemed an almost inevitable conclusion that the two would announce that they were merging. Then within the past week or so, talks broke down as SoftBank (Sprint’s parent) decided it didn’t want to give up control to T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom. I guess this means a supposed last ditch effort by T-Mobile’s John Legere to salvage the deal didn’t work out.
Either way, the deal isn’t happening at this moment in time. Below is the statement given by John Legere:
“The prospect of combining with Sprint has been compelling for a variety of reasons, including the potential to create significant benefits for consumers and value for shareholders. However, we have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile’s shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance and track record,” said John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile US, Inc. “Going forward, T-Mobile will continue disrupting this industry and bringing our proven Un-carrier strategy to more customers and new categories – ultimately redefining the mobile Internet as we know it. We’ve been out-growing this industry for the last 15 quarters, delivering outstanding value for shareholders, and driving significant change across wireless. We won’t stop now.”
// T-Mobile
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Unread 2018-04-10, 01:14 PM   #255
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Sprint, T-Mobile Restart Deal Talks, Once Again

Talks are preliminary; five months after prior talks collapsed over terms





Sprint Corp. S +18.68% and T-Mobile US Inc. TMUS +5.96% have rekindled merger talks, people familiar with the matter said, as the wireless rivals explore a combination for the third time in four years.
The latest discussions come just five months after a previous courtship collapsed largely over who would control the combined firm. The talks also come in the midst of an antitrust fight between the U.S. government and AT&T Inc.
It is unclear what terms the two sides are considering, and it is possible, as before, that they could fail to reach an agreement. The latest discussions are at a preliminary stage, the people said.
The talks are complicated by the ownership of the two firms. Japanese telecom giantSoftBank Group Corp. 9984 1.53% owns nearly 85% of Sprint. Germany’s Deutsche TelekomAG DTEGY 3.07% controls T-Mobile, which is the larger company both in terms of subscribers and market value.
A combined company, should the two sides successfully strike a deal, would have nearly 100 million customers, putting it just ahead of AT&T, which had 93 million U.S. subscribers at the end of 2017, and behind Verizon Communications Inc., which ended the year with 116 million. The figures include both prepaid services as well as monthly subscribers.
Wall Street has long anticipated the marriage and financial analysts estimate the companies could save billions of dollars each year by sharing network infrastructure, storefronts and headquarters.




But the marriage of the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers has run into hurdles. In 2014 regulators under the Obama administration objected to the combination, saying four national providers ensure more choices and lower prices for consumers.
It is unclear what kind of reception the deal would get in the Trump administration, which has loosened regulations under the Federal Communications Commission but also sued to block AT&T’s proposed $85 billion takeover of media company Time Warner Inc.



Little has changed in the wireless industry since both parties last abandoned their talks in early November, though Sprint’s share price has tumbled roughly 20% while T-Mobile has held steady.
Sprint’s stock decline has pushed it market capitalization down to around $21 billion, from about $27 billion five months ago. Sprint also had more than $32 billion in net debt as of Dec. 31. T-Mobile has a market value of roughly $50 billion and about $30 billion in net debt.
Both companies’ shares advanced in Tuesday afternoon trading after the Journal first reported on the latest discussions. Sprint surged 20% to $6.17, while T-Mobile gained 6% to $63.40.
In November, the two sides said they couldn’t agree on terms, despite an 11th hour meeting at the Tokyo home of Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, who is Sprint’s chairman. Mr. Son was reluctant to give up control of Sprint, people familiar with the matter said.
SoftBank took control of Sprint for $22 billion in 2013 but has struggled with years of subscriber defections and billions of dollars in losses. Meanwhile, T-Mobile used an unlimited data plan and other marketing moves to add millions of customers in recent years, eclipsing Sprint as the No. 3 carrier by subscribers.
Each company has since outlined plans to go it alone in an uphill battle for subscribers now that most Americans have a smartphone and all four major U.S. providers sell unlimited data plans.
Sprint pledged to spend billions of dollars on its network and struck a reseller deal withAltice USA Inc. to let the cable company use its network for wireless service. It also returned to the debt markets earlier this year, raising $1.5 billion in high-yield bonds.
T-Mobile, which spent $8 billion on spectrum in a government auction last year, said it plans to spend billions more on share repurchases and airwaves. It paid more than $300 million for a video-streaming startup and said it would launch its own pay-TV service later this year.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere sounded open to new deals when asked about them on a February conference call with industry analysts.
”Nothing’s off the table,” he said in response to a question about Sprint. “The pace at which these things are thought about and are going on, and I’m not even going to touch content yet, I think it’s actually accelerating behind the scenes...some of those things will happen sooner than most people think.”



Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure told investors at a Wells Fargo conference after the deal fell apart that Sprint has a “bright future ahead of us and that there was no need to basically give control to T-Mo,” though he later added, “those of you know who know Masa—you can never say forever.”
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Unread 2018-04-28, 02:59 AM   #256
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T-Mobile, Sprint make progress in talks, aim for deal next week - sources










(Reuters) - U.S. wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp have made progress in negotiating merger terms and are aiming to successfully complete deal talks as early as next week, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.



FILE PHOTO: Smartphones with the logos of T-Mobile and Sprint are seen in this illustration taken September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The combined company would have more than 127 million customers and could create more formidable competition for the No.1 and No.2 wireless players, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc, amid a race to expand offerings in 5G, the next generation of wireless technology.
T-Mobile majority-owner Deutsche Telekom and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, which controls Sprint, are considering an agreement that would dictate how they exercise voting control over the combined company, two of the sources said.

This could allow Deutsche Telekom to consolidate the combined company on its books, even without owning a majority stake, the sources added. Deutsche Telekom owns more than 63 percent of T-Mobile, while SoftBank owns 84.7 percent of Sprint.

Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile are also in the process of finalising the debt financing package they will use to fund the deal, the sources said.




There is no certainty that a deal will be reached, the sources cautioned. The companies came close to a merger agreement in November before SoftBank’s chief executive officer, Masayoshi Son, pulled out of the talks at the last minute.

The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Sprint, T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sprint and T-Mobile have market capitalizations of $24 billion and $55 billion, respectively. Sprint shares rose 9 percent in after hours trading in New York, while T-Mobile shares were up 4 percent.




When the previous round of talks between the companies ended in November over valuation disagreements, Deutsche Telekom Chief Executive Officer Tim Hoettges left the door open by saying: “You always meet twice in life.”

Failure to clinch a deal had left SoftBank’s Son, a dealmaker who raised close to $100 billion for his Vision Fund to invest in technology companies, in search of other options for Sprint.

SoftBank has been looking to trim its debt, which reached 15.8 trillion yen ($147 billion) as of the end of December. It has said it is planning to raise cash by taking its Japanese mobile phone unit public this year.

Even though Sprint’s customer base has expanded under CEO Marcelo Claure, growth has been driven by discounting. Analysts have said that without T-Mobile, Sprint lacks the scale needed to invest in its network and to compete in a saturated market.

T-Mobile, under its Chief Executive Officer John Legere, has fared better than Sprint, even if it remains a distant third to Verizon and AT&T. It has managed to score sustained market share gains, as innovative offerings, improving network performance and good customer service attract new customers, according to Moody’s Investors Service Inc.

T-Mobile became the first major U.S. carrier to eliminate two-year contracts, a shift quickly embraced by consumers and copied by competitors. The company has also unsettled rivals with its unlimited data plans.

Another roadblock to the deal could be regulatory hurdles. Sprint’s and T-Mobile’s first round of merger talks ended in 2014 after U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration expressed antitrust concerns about the deal.

It is not clear how the Trump administration would view the combination. AT&T agreed to acquire U.S. media company Time Warner Inc in October 2016 for $85 billion. The U.S. Department of Justice has sued to block the deal over concerns about the companies’ pricing power in the media market. AT&T and Time Warner are currently defending their deal in court.
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Unread 2018-04-29, 02:32 PM   #257
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BREAKING: T-Mobile and Sprint agree to merger


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — T-Mobile CEO John Legere says his company has agreed to a merger deal with Overland Park-based Sprint.
The new company will be named T-Mobile, and Legere will serve as the CEO. The company’s main headquarters will be in Bellevue, Washington, just outside of Seattle. The company says it will maintain a second headquarters in Overland Park.
T-Mobile says the merger will help in their plans to create a nationwide 5G network. According to a press release, the combined company will also “employ more people than both companies separately and create thousands of new American jobs.”
You can read the full release by clicking on the link below, and see a press release video with Legere and current Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure above.
T-Mobile / Sprint Merger Press Release

Sprint dropped its bid for T-Mobile more than three years ago after running into concerns about wireless competition in the Obama administration. The two were poised to combine in October, but that deal was called off, too.
Sprint has a lot of debt and has posted a string of annual losses. The company has cut costs and made itself more attractive to customers, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk says, but it hasn’t invested enough in its network and doesn’t have enough airwave rights for quality service in rural areas.
“T-Mobile does not need a merger with Sprint to succeed, but Sprint might need one to survive,” Piecyk wrote in a research note.
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Unread 2018-04-29, 06:48 PM   #258
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Curious what this will do to plans. We already pay more than enough.
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Unread 2018-04-30, 06:03 AM   #259
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T-Mobile and Sprint agree merger that could cost 20,000 US jobs
Deal would leave US with three major cellphone providers
Moves to merge German- and Japanese-owned firms have failed before
Associated Press in New York



T-Mobile and Sprint said on Sunday they have agreed to combine into a company that would reducing major US wireless providers to three.


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The deal would create a stronger competitor to the larger AT&T and Verizon and save money by merging networks and closing stores, aiding efforts to build infrastructure and buy rights to the airwaves needed for faster “5G” service that is expected to be up in running within the next few years.

The Communications Workers of America, a union for telecommunication workers, has said the merger will cost at least 20,000 US jobs and reduce competition in wireless, bringing higher prices.

The proposed all-stock deal values Sprint at about $59bn and the combined company at $146bn.

Sprint dropped a bid for T-Mobile more than three years ago after running into concerns about competition under the Obama administration. The companies were poised to combine last October but that deal was called off too.

The new deal will have to be reviewed by the justice department and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that oversees phone, broadcast TV and internet service.

The Trump administration has shown a willingness to block deals it believes are not in the national interest. Last year it moved to block AT&T from taking over Time Warner, arguing it would be bad for consumers. In March, the US ended Singaporean chip maker Broadcom’s bid for its American rival Qualcomm on national security grounds.

In September, however, the FCC deemed the wireless market “competitive” for the first time since 2009, which some analysts say could make it easier for Sprint and T-Mobile to combine. FCC chairman Ajit Pai, Donald Trump’s appointee, has not criticized the idea of three national carriers rather than four, as his Obama-appointed predecessor did.

Sprint’s owner, the Japanese SoftBank, has long been looking for a deal as the company has struggled to compete, with large debt and a string of annual losses. The company has cut costs and made itself more attractive to customers, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk said, but it has not invested enough and does not have enough airwave rights for quality service in rural areas.

T-Mobile has been on a years-long streak of adding customers. After the government blocked an AT&T attempt to buy it in 2011, it led the way in implementing changes such as ditching two-year contracts and bringing back unlimited data. Consumers are paying less thanks to resultant price wars.

“T-Mobile does not need a merger with Sprint to succeed but Sprint might need one to survive,” Piecyk wrote in a research note.


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MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said T-Mobile’s momentum was slowing, which may explain why it and its parent, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, “have warmed to the idea of a merger sooner rather than later”.

AT&T and Verizon are becoming more like media and cable companies, both testing a type of home wireless that could be as fast or faster than cable.

AT&T, the country’s biggest TV provider since its purchase of DirecTV, is facing a lawsuit from the justice department related to antitrust concerns over its deal for Time Warner, parent company of HBO, CNN and the Warner Bros movie studio. To lure wireless customers, AT&T offers discounts on DirecTV and could soon do so with HBO.

Verizon bought the once-pioneering internet companies Yahoo and AOL. It hopes to compete with Facebook and Google for advertising dollars.
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Unread 2018-04-30, 08:34 AM   #260
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What the T-Mobile and Sprint merger means for you

Sprint and T-Mobile are officially seeking to merge. If the deal is approved, the resulting company would be the nation’s second-biggest wireless carrier after Verizon, controlling roughly 100 million customers. While the merger could put the companies in a stronger position to take on AT&T and Verizon, it would also eliminate a competitor from the wireless industry. That might not sit well with some policymakers, who say U.S. businesses have grown too concentrated in recent years. What could the merger mean for competition — and your pocketbook? Here’s what to expect.

Why is the deal happening?

The argument from T-Mobile and Sprint largely boils down to scale. By combining, they say, they’ll be in a better position to take on the incumbents, AT&T and Verizon. The deal could eliminate duplicate spending and allow the new company, which would be called T-Mobile, to collect revenue from one, massive customer base.

This expanded scale could have important consumer implications. Right now, the whole wireless industry is racing to deploy a next-generation data technology called 5G. Expect to hear a lot about 5G in the coming weeks as this deal moves forward.

How could the deal affect consumer prices?

It's too soon to tell. T-Mobile chief executive John Legere said Sunday that the merger will lead to lower prices for Sprint and T-Mobile customers. He claimed that even customers of other providers, such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, could see price cuts as those companies respond to the business moves of the new company.

That argument reflects T-Mobile’s reputation for undercutting the competition. The self-styled “Uncarrier” has transformed how millions of Americans get their wireless service, from doing away with long-term contracts that lock you into a provider to offering unlimited data plans. Many of these practices prompted T-Mobile’s larger rivals to respond with similar offerings as T-Mobile siphoned off chunks of their customer base.

But the proposed deal eliminates a provider that has been an aggressive competitor on price in its own right, offering deep discounts and promotions to lure customers.

The reduction in competition could lead to higher prices, said Blair Levin, a policy adviser for New Street Research.

“The general view on Wall Street is that as a result of this deal, there are likely to be job cuts and prices are likely to rise,” he said.

Whether prices will go up or down will probably be a key focus of regulators at the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission as they decide whether to approve the deal.

What will happen to Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers?

For now, a new roaming agreement announced Sunday will allow Sprint customers to use T-Mobile’s network in places where Sprint’s is not available, giving them greater access to coverage. The two companies will otherwise operate independently until the deal receives regulatory approval.

If regulators bless the merger, then Sprint customers will be gradually migrated to T-Mobile’s network — a process that could take up to three years, the companies say. About half of Sprint’s customer base, or about 20 million users, won’t notice a thing; that’s because their phones already support both networks, executives said Sunday.

New television offerings and jobs

T-Mobile got into the television business in 2017 by buying up Layer3, a small cable company with the same underdog mentality as T-Mobile. With the Sprint deal, T-Mobile stands to gain a much larger built-in audience for Layer3 as it prepares to launch a streaming TV product.

“All content is going to the Internet, and all Internet is being viewed on mobile,” Legere said in a phone interview Sunday afternoon.

T-Mobile and Sprint also claim that the deal will lead to “thousands” of new hires in construction, retail and customer service.

What’s 5G, by the way?

5G stands for “fifth generation,” and it refers to technology that will enable smartphones and other mobile devices to surf the Internet at speeds comparable to some of the fastest in-home Internet connections today. In fact, many wireless providers are betting that 5G could supplement or even replace the Internet cables running into your home.

In addition to faster downloads, 5G offers more reliability than 4G or LTE — meaning that it can support smart devices like self-driving cars, telemedicine and other high-tech products that are just coming to fruition.

But building out a 5G network is costly: Carriers not only need rights to the best airwaves, but also must invest in more cell towers and other infrastructure.

Sprint and T-Mobile say that only together can they pour enough resources into the project to have a world-class 5G network that’s competitive with AT&T and Verizon.

How much competition does T-Mobile truly face?

Although the deal reduces the number of national wireless carriers from four to three, T-Mobile and Sprint argue that there are really as many as six to eight viable competitors when you factor in new offerings from the cable industry.

One example is Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile, which blends wireless service from Verizon and Comcast’s own network of WiFi hotspots to create a brand-new wireless provider.

“The market has changed dramatically,” Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s chief executive, said in a phone interview Sunday. “There used to be four big carriers. Today, there’s six or seven players. When you get to 5G, you get to seven, eight players.”

But not everyone agrees that cable is a viable competitor to T-Mobile and Sprint. The two networks have tens of millions of customers. Xfinity Mobile has 577,000, Comcast executives said last week. And because Comcast is paying Verizon for the right to resell the telecom giant’s wireless service, it isn’t as if Comcast is building something completely different than what’s gone before.

It would be novel for regulators to look at Xfinity Mobile as a truly competitive offering, said Walt Piecyk, an industry analyst at BTIG.

“Regulators are likely to look at this as a four-player market going to three,” Piecyk said. “Comcast is not the first [mobile virtual network operator] to exist in the wireless market when a deal has been considered.”

Why ‘four carriers’ has been a magic number for the government

In 2011, AT&T tried to make its own bid for T-Mobile. But regulators moved to block the deal, saying that the elimination of a rival would harm competition. That view has persisted, particularly with an attempt by Sprint to buy T-Mobile in 2014.

Since then, the regulators’ theory has been proven correct, some analysts say. T-Mobile went on to launch its Uncarrier campaign to reshape the wireless industry, and that’s helped consumers. That experience has underscored a belief that four national wireless providers can sustain a healthy level of competition in the industry.

While Legere and Claure say that T-Mobile’s aggressive approach will continue under the new T-Mobile, analysts such as Piecyk say that there are fewer promotions nowadays and that wireless prices are back on the rise.

Meanwhile, other analysts say regulators will have come a long way if they decide only three national providers are necessary.

“Back when I started as an antitrust lawyer, people worried about mergers that reduced the number of competitors in a market from six to five," said Jeffrey Blumenfeld, a partner at Lowenstein Sandler in Washington. ‘That seems sort of quaint now.”
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Unread 2018-04-30, 09:13 AM   #261
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How the Sprint Deal is a Feather in T-Mobile C.E.O.’s Cap: DealBook Briefing

Chalk up the Sprint deal as a win for T-Mobile’s C.E.O.
That would be John Legere, perhaps the most colorful and outspoken chieftain in the wireless industry. (He’s literally the most colorful, usually clad in his company’s signature magenta color.) If his company’s $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint goes through, he’ll also have charted the most unlikely success story in the business.

He rose through the ranks of other telecom companies, including AT&T and Global Crossing, though his image was far from what he shows off today. (He looked more traditionally corporate back then. “I was an aspiring young executive with a suit, tie and hair like Michael Douglas,” he told AdAge earlier this year.)

His path to fame came soon after he took over as T-Mobile’s C.E.O. in 2012, and the company embarked on its “Un-carrier” strategy. Consider T-Mobile’s position at the time: The year before, the company’s plan to sell itself to AT&T for $39 billion failed, leaving what was then the U.S.’s fourth-biggest wireless provider with an uncertain future. All T-Mobile had to show for itself was a multibillion-dollar break-up fee paid by AT&T and a bundle of network airwaves known as spectrum.


But from that, Mr. Legere sought to change the way U.S. wireless providers did business:

Lowering prices
Ending some long-term contract requirements

Offering unlimited data plans

“The company took off like a rocketship and has sustained that momentum ever since the AT&T merger was blocked,” the analyst Craig Moffett of the research firm MoffettNathanson told me in an interview.

More on the legacy of Mr. Legere, from my and Cecilia’s story on the deal:

Those policies helped T-Mobile add nearly 40 million customers over the last five years, with 5 million new customers added last year alone. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint all followed suit, and in recent years the overall price of basic wireless plans has stayed flat or fallen, according to Obama-era regulators.

The Un-carrier campaign helped propel T-Mobile ahead of Sprint in 2015. As of Dec. 31., the company had 58.7 million retail subscribers, compared to Sprint’s 40.9 million. T-Mobile’s market value also outstripped that of Sprint’s, contributing to the structure of Sunday’s deal: Mr. Legere would become C.E.O. of the combined company, which would keep the T-Mobile name.

In an ironic twist, completion of the Sprint deal would put T-Mobile ahead of its former suitor, AT&T, in terms of retail subscribers. AT&T had 93.2 million at the end of 2017.

But Mr. Moffett said that the very success of Mr. Legere and T-Mobile could pose problems for the Sprint deal, since it proves that regulators’ opposition to the two companies’ effort to merge in 2014 was justified.

Mr. Legere is also well-known for his Twitter feed, a stream of posts that ranges from slow-cooker cuisine (Sunday’s edition, published before the deal was announced, involved Kansas City-style ribs, a sly nod to Sprint’s hometown) to his indoor cycling. But it also includes frequent taunts of his competitors, with Verizon and AT&T derided as “dumb and dumber.”

In 2014, after the collapse of a previous round of merger talks with Sprint, Mr. Legere posted this insult of his off-again, on-again deal partner:

Is Sprint a melting ice cube?….looks like it to me….join the cool brand NOW! #T-Mobile #Unleash

— John Legere (@JohnLegere) Aug. 6, 2014
When I asked about the tweet in a phone interview on Sunday — which also involved Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s C.E.O. — Mr. Legere chuckled. “You’re expecting me to remember tweets from 2014?” he responded.

— Michael de la Merced

Is the third (or fourth) time the charm for Sprint and T-Mobile?

Yesterday’s rollout of T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion bid to buy Sprint — the companies’ latest merger effort over the years — showed that both wireless carriers are laser-focused on winning over regulators. Their main talking points: Together they can build a robust 5G wireless network, keep prices low for consumers, and create jobs — particularly in rural areas. And the wireless market won’t be a three-company business, with Comcast and others trying to break in.

Whether they will succeed is another matter. Michael and Cecilia Kang point out that while the F.C.C. commissioner, Ajit Pai, has signaled an open mind toward mergers, many antitrust staffers at the Justice Department are the same people who opposed the deal in 2014.

A preview of Andrew’s column on the deal, which will go up this morning:

No matter how much hyperbole Sprint and T-Mobile expend, it is hard to see how the deal will pass muster with regulators.

“It would not surprise me if they can come up with an economist with a model that says this is all unicorns and cupcakes,” said Michael Kades, a former lawyer at the F.T.C. who is now the director of markets and competition policy for Washington Center for Equitable Growth. “But the market concentration is presumptively anticompetitive.”

More on the T-Mobile-Sprint deal: SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son, who controls Sprint, finally gets the merger he has long craved, but walking away from talks last year cost him dearly. Customers shouldn’t expect their phone bills to go up — at least, not right away.

Critics’ corner: The proposed transaction carefully targeted everything President Trump likes, according to Jennifer Saba of Breakingviews. If the deal fails, T-Mobile has a bright future, but Sprint doesn’t, Tara Lachapelle of Gadfly writes.
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Unread 2018-04-30, 09:34 AM   #262
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Deutsche Telekom leverage to increase on T-Mobile-Sprint deal

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE) said its leverage would increase beyond its target corridor as a result of the takeover by its unit T-Mobile US (TMUS.O) of Sprint Corp (S.N), but will return to the comfort zone in 2021.


Deutsche Telekom’s adjusted net debt, as a multiple of its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) will exceed its target corridor of 2-2.5 times following the deal, it said in a statement.

“Strong free cash flow generation of T-Mobile US over the coming years is expected to result in strong deleveraging, bringing the ratio back to the target corridor in 2021,” Deutsche Telekom said.

T-Mobile US agreed on Sunday to acquire Sprint in an all-stock deal for $26 billion that will combine the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers and is expected to attract regulatory scrutiny over its impact on consumers.

Deutsche Telekom will effectively control the merged entity, and expects to consolidate its results, sources have said.
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Unread 2018-05-01, 10:27 AM   #263
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Democrats have already called for a hearing on the T-Mobile merger







From the very first moment that T-Mobile and Sprint made their merger official, it’s been clear that the government will be the biggest obstacle to getting the deal done. The initial press release was obviously crafted with securing regulatory approval the primary mission, because the Department of Justice is certain to be interested.
But before we can even get to the Department of Justice phase, Democratic lawmakers are already calling for more information. In a letter sent this afternoon, Rep. Frank Pallone and Mike Doyle have written to the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, to request a hearing about the merger.




“As the Committee with primary jurisdiction over the wireless industry, we have a responsibility to understand the potential effect of this merger on consumers, workers, and the communications market,” the Congressmen wrote. “The transaction would directly affect the 120 million wireless subscribers for the two companies, but it would also trigger ripple effects for everyone who uses a mobile phone. Considering that the combined company would be overwhelmingly controlled by foreign entities, this transaction also raises significant questions about foreign control of major players in the U.S. wireless market.”
T-Mobile and Sprint have been going to lengths to explain that the Un-carrier mission won’t change, and that actually, synergies between T-Mobile and Sprint will lower costs and thus prices. But history tells us it likely won’t work out that way.
With T-Mobile and Sprint merging, that takes the number of wireless networks down from four to three. T-Mobile claimed on its conference call today that it really has eight competitors, but that includes companies like Comcast that buy service from Verizon or AT&T. In reality, the wireless industry is already highly concentrated, and merging its two smallest players just makes things worse.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Chairmen Walden and Blackburn:
We write to request that the Energy and Commerce Committee schedule a hearing to review the proposed merger between T-Mobile US (T-Mobile) and Sprint Corporation (Sprint). As the Committee with primary jurisdiction over the wireless industry, we have a responsibility to understand the potential effect of this merger on consumers, workers, and the communications market.
T-Mobile has entered into a definitive agreement to pay approximately $59 billion to purchase Sprint, thereby creating a combined company worth about $146 billion. The merger would create a new wireless behemoth by shrinking the number of nationwide wireless providers from four to three. The transaction would directly affect the 120 million wireless subscribers for the two companies, but it would also trigger ripple effects for everyone who uses a mobile phone. Considering that the combined company would be overwhelmingly controlled by foreign entities, this transaction also raises significant questions about foreign control of major players in the U.S. wireless market.
This Committee has spent significant time studying the overhaul in the wireless market as it transitions to fifth-generation (5G) infrastructure. We have heard how 5G technology is necessary for new connected services and to deliver high-definition video over wireless networks. And we have learned that wireless networks are unlikely to build into many unserved areas without further government investment such as that authorized in our LIFT America Act.
Yet, we have not held a single hearing to examine the state of competition as the industry makes this change or how a loss of a competitor could affect consumers or workers. For instance, both T-Mobile and Sprint have already made significant commitments to invest in new infrastructure in 5G technologies. Yet, reports indicate that as many as 35,000 cell sites will be abandoned as part of this deal. The public deserves to understand whether further consolidation will speed up or slow down that deployment and what the change will do for American workers. Just as urgently, the American people want to know what a transaction such as this will do to wireless prices.
Finally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has pointed to competition in the communications market as justification for many of its efforts to eliminate consumer protections such as net neutrality. While we do not agree that this rationale has ever made sense, certainly this Committee has an obligation to take a fresh look at the FCC’s actions in light of this and other recent—proposed communications mergers. For those reasons, we request that the Energy and Commerce Committee schedule a hearing to review the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.
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Unread 2018-05-01, 10:34 AM   #264
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Everything that’ll change for Sprint customers now that T-Mobile is taking over







After a courtship that lasted longer than the last three seasons of The Bachelorette, T-Mobile and Sprint have finally made their union official. The boards of both companies have agreed to merge, and assuming that the government doesn’t stand in the way (that’s a pretty big if!), Sprint and T-Mobile customers are going to have to stop making fun of each other.
But it’s not just the CEO that’s going to change. Merging two multi-billion-dollar companies that have a combined 127 million customers is undoubtedly going to bring about all sorts of changes over the next few years. While the bulk of the details are still left to be revealed, here’s what we know will change for customers.




RIP T-Mobile, long live New T-Mobile

According to the press release announcing the merger, it seems that Sprint’s branding will slowly vanish, and the new company will be called “New T-Mobile,” or more likely just T-Mobile. Both companies were keen to use the “Un-Carrier” branding that’s associated with T-Mobile in reference to the company’s 5G plans, and John Legere — who might as well be T-Mobile’s official mascot — will remain as CEO. The move makes sense, since T-Mobile’s brand is more recognizable and more liked than Sprint’s branding.
For the next year or two, you’re still going to see Sprint-branded stores and talk to Sprint employees. Merging the two networks will happen, but it all takes time.
Network merging will take years

The timeline T-Mobile laid out is that Sprint customers will be migrated to Sprint’s network “over the course of three years,” according to Washington Post reporter Brian Fung. That timeline lines up with how major network mergers have gone in other countries over the years, including when T-Mobile UK merged with Orange UK to form EE. In that instance, it took around a year for customers of each network to be able to roam onto the other’s network, and full integration took two years after that.
Some phones won’t be compatible

Because of differences in the cellular technologies and bandwidths between different devices, some Sprint phones won’t work on T-Mobile’s network, and vice versa. This likely won’t be a huge problem — full integration will take years, and people typically only keep smartphones for two years, so this shouldn’t be a huge issue.
If you want to check if your Sprint device would work on T-Mobile’s network, however, you can check device compatibility using T-Mobile’s port-in checker here.
Yes, prices will probably go up

T-Mobile and Sprint are going to lengths to explain that the Un-carrier mission won’t change, and that actually, synergies between T-Mobile and Sprint will lower costs and thus prices. But history tells us it likely won’t work out that way.
With T-Mobile and Sprint merging, that takes the number of wireless networks down from four to three. T-Mobile claimed on its conference call today that it really has eight competitors, but that includes companies like Comcast that buy service from Verizon or AT&T. In reality, the wireless industry is already highly concentrated, and merging its two smallest players just makes things worse.
When it comes to pricing, things are even worse. Sprint and T-Mobile have been aggressively competing on price for the last few years in an effort to attract new customers and grow their subscriber base. Merging both companies doesn’t just shrink the number of competitors; it removes all competition from the lower-end postpaid wireless industry.
Don’t believe me? Just look at Canada, which only has three nationwide carriers. It has some of the highest prices for cell service in the developed world, and all those things we’ve learned to enjoy thanks to T-Mobile, like unlimited data or off-contract devices, simply don’t exist.
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Unread 2018-05-01, 11:14 AM   #265
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5G sounds amazing — but Sprint and T-Mobile's merger won't provide any instant miracles





REUTERS/ALBERT GEA
  • T-Mobile and Sprint announced their plans to merge, with the biggest selling point being a faster deployment of 5G on a nationwide scale.
  • 5G offers an exciting prospect, as it's supposedly faster and more reliable than the current 4G LTE network standard.
  • However, it's likely that carriers will face the same problems with deploying 5G as they have now with 4G LTE, largely because of the way that carrier infrastructure is handled in the US.
  • It's different in China, where telecoms companies face far fewer regulatory constraints to build out a network.

The American public is in desperate need of 5G, the next generation wireless networks that promise blazing speeds and rock-solid connections.
That's the urgent appeal being sounded by T-Mobile and Sprint as they push to get approval for their $146 billion mega-merger.
Neither Sprint or T-Mobile can create a nationwide 5G network on their own, T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert told Business Insider in an interview on Monday.
"Standalone T-Mobile hasn't been shy that we can create a broad 5G layer, but we don't have the resources to go really deep. Sprint can go deep with its 2.5GHz spectrum, but they can't go broad," Sievert said.
In other words, let the two phone giants combine, and the miracle of 5G will soon be yours.
If you're not familiar with 5G, here's why it's a big deal:
5G is the next generation of wireless network that will supposedly deliver far faster speeds with much less latency than 4G LTE (the current standard) to anything that connects to the internet, whether it be smartphones, computers, and even self-driving cars. It's also said take care of the current problems with 4G LTE networks where they can become overburdened and slow to a crawl during the busy hours in a populated area.
But while Sprint and T-Mobile's promise to accelerate the dawn of the 5G era sound great, the reality of the wireless landscape provides plenty of reason for caution.
So much for the LTE-A miracle

On paper, a 5G network from a merged T-Mobile and Sprint seems like it could be better than Verizon's and AT&T 5G networks. That's largely because T-Mobile could combine their incipient 5G networks to deliver 5G coverage in both urban and rural areas, whereas Verizon and AT&T's 5G networks will only really feature in densely populated cities at first.

T-Mobile US CEO John Legere speaks at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.Steve Marcus/Reuters
Yet, 5G isn't the first network standard that promised to be better than 4G LTE. If you own a recent high-end smartphone — and depending on what carrier you use – you may have been using the 4G LTE Advanced (LTE-A) standard (Verizon calls it LTE+). LTE-A uses carrier aggregation, which essentially transmits data to your device over several bands and towers, and even from different carriers to your own. Carriers that deliver LTE-A tout similar benefits as 5G, like fast speeds and better performance in densely populated areas during busy times.
But if 5G will roll out in the same way that LTE-A rolled out, we shouldn't expect 5G to be the standard that will finally drench the nation in fast, high performance internet.
Verizon's coverage map says I should get LTE-A access pretty much everywhere I go. But that's not the case at all.
I commute into Manhattan on a major train corridor used by more than 300,000 people every day. But while I can get LTE-A speeds in the city, it's nowhere to be found during the 35-mile commute. Even though carriers began rolling LTE-A out two years ago, there's been little incentive to deliver LTE-A outside of major metropolitan areas.
And there's little indication that carriers will be able to deliver 5G any better, according to Gartner principal research analyst Bill Menezes. 5G networks will be great in areas where it is delivered, but you'll likely face the same performance issues wherever — and whenever — you had problems before, whether it's low signal strength or slow data speeds.

A worker climbs on a cellular communication tower on March 6, 2014 in Oakland, California.Justin Sullivan/Getty
The solution sounds simple enough. "If [the carriers] don't have coverage to [a problem area] to any great extent now, they're going to have to do more buildup. That means acquiring right of way, getting radios out there," Menezes said. But that's a process and a cost that carriers are clearly struggling with. If they weren't struggling, your streaming song or video would never skip or need to buffer, which is an experience I believe many can relate to.
A tricky landscape that's not likely to change

Much of the struggle comes from the way carrier infrastructure is handled in the US, according to Menezes.
In the US, "every local zoning authority has a say over antenna placement." That includes where carriers can place antennas and how much local authorities charge carriers. "The carriers and the infrastructure providers are on the warpath about this. They're trying to get the FCC to intervene and say 'we've got to have a national standard for what you're allowed to do, how much you're allowed to charge, what the process has to be. Otherwise we're never going to get this deployed as well as we believe it should be in terms of the national interest.'"

YouTube/Laguna Village Voice
These kinds of regulatory constraints aren't a problem in China, which is leading the "race to 5G" ahead of the US. If the Chinese government wants to accelerate the deployment of 5G, it can decide the regulatory constraints and make it much easier for Chinese telecom companies to build out their networks, Menezes said.
If LTE-A didn't really solve any of your issues — including mine during my commute to New York City — the outlook for 5G isn't that much better.
No matter how great the Sprint and T-Mobile sales pitch sounds, you'll probably be waiting a while before you see 5G.
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Unread 2018-05-01, 11:14 AM   #266
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New Tmobile-Sprint Map

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Unread 2018-05-02, 01:04 AM   #267
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Sprint and T-Mobile C.E.O.s Are in Washington to Sell Their Merger. Here’s What They’ll Confront.
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Among the pitches that T-Mobile and Sprint are making to promote their proposed merger: They say they can help build out a next-generation wireless network.CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times
By Michael J. de la Merced and Alan Rappeport


May 1, 2018
From the moment T-Mobile and Sprint announced their $26.5 billion merger on Sunday, the wireless carriers have positioned their proposed deal with an eye toward Washington. After all, regulators in the Obama administration blocked one of their previous efforts to combine.
This time around, the chief executives of the companies emphasized that merging would help them to:
■ Build a next-generation wireless network, one robust enough to keep up with China in a growing technological arms race;
■ Create thousands of jobs, especially in rural areas;
■ Keep prices low for consumers, especially as cable companies like Comcast try to enter the market.
Not everyone is convinced they’ll do everything. The heads of both companies began a charm offensive in Washington on Tuesday; here’s what three government agencies will weigh as they consider the bid.
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Unread 2018-05-05, 09:55 AM   #268
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SoftBank's Son 'not involved' in Sprint, T-Mobile merger approvals



TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank Group Corp’s (9984.T) Chief Executive Masayoshi Son is not involved in trying to get the proposed merger of U.S. wireless carriers Sprint Corp (S.N) and T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) approved, Sprint’s outgoing chief executive said on Thursday.

SoftBank Group Corp Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son leaves a session at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Marcelo Claure’s comments dampen speculation Son may use his ties to U.S. President Donald Trump to ease passage of the merger of the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless carriers, which faces intense scrutiny from U.S. authorities.

Son, founder of Sprint’s controlling shareholder SoftBank, is “not involved at all” in efforts to complete the $26 billion all-stock deal, Claure told Reuters in a phone interview.

Sprint and T-Mobile announced on Sunday they had agreed to a merger in which Sprint would acquire T-Mobile. The deal allows the combined entity to bulk up in order to better invest in next-generation 5G wireless technology.

But the deal faces regulatory hurdles starting with scrutiny from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.

Other steps include a national security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the U.S. federal states, and Trump’s White House.

In late 2016 Son met Trump and pledged to invest $50 billion and create 50,000 new jobs in the United States, winning praise from the then president-elect.



Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure speaks about his company's merger with T-Mobile during an interview on CNBC on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
“It’s always good to have a good relation, to be well perceived by the head of state but ... these are non-political processes,” Claure said.

Hit by doubts over the deal’s prospects, Sprint’s shares have fallen 20 percent since Sunday’s announcement. T-Mobile’s shares are down almost 12 percent.

“There is a scepticism with our ability to be able to get this merger approved,” Claure said adding it would be a top priority in his new role.

NEW ROLE
Claure is stepping down from the top job at Sprint to become the chief operating officer at SoftBank Group and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group International, the technology and telecoms company’s sprawling international investments arm.

The latter role has been vacant since the departure of Nikesh Arora, the former Google (GOOGL.O) executive who was once set to become Son’s successor.

Son has pledged to create a group of global companies employing technology such as connected devices and artificial intelligence.

But investor confusion over how mutually supportive such investments are has helped contribute to the “conglomerate discount” that has weighed on SoftBank’s share price.

“There are so many synergies within the group that we need to organize,” Claure said, citing the example of closer cooperation over chip designs between SoftBank subsidiary ARM Holdings and other portfolio companies.

Michel Combes, Sprint’s chief financial officer, will take over as Sprint CEO by May 31. Claure will become executive chairman.
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Unread 2018-05-05, 09:57 AM   #269
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Verizon CEO On T-Mobile Merger: “Maybe The Fourth Time Is The Charm”

Verizon’s Chairman and CEO, Lowell McAdam spoke with Geekwire this week, and the big topic was the pending T-Mobile/Sprint merger that was announced just last weekend. McAdam was asked what he thought of the merger and how it might affect Verizon, in which he stated that Verizon “doesn’t care”. He continued to say that “maybe the fourth time is the charm, I don’t know.” Of course, McAdam is talking about the various mergers that T-Mobile has been involved in. Starting with AT&T back in 2011 and then various talks with Sprint since then.

The main topic for T-Mobile and Sprint with this merger has been 5G. Both companies stating that by combining, it could create the fastest 5G network in the US. Verizon doesn’t agree. McAdam stated that his company has bene pushing forward with its 5G strategy already. Continuing to say that he doesn’t “think that merger matters from a 5G perspective.” McAdam says that Verizon is going to do 5G regardless, and “we’re way ahead of everybody.”Elaborating on the fact that Verizon has already invested quite a bit in fiber and millimeter wave spectrum, which is needed for 5G.


On the subject of competition in the US, McAdam said that it will likely change the market, and said that he believes the industry is already pretty competitive. But McAdam also stated that it’ll take them two years before they can actually start competing with the “duopoly” of AT&T and Verizon. That’s a year of regulatory approval and then a year of combining the two carriers together. McAdam has a point there. Even combined, Sprint and T-Mobile will still be the smallest of the three carriers, about 15 million subscribers short of AT&T, and about 25 million short of Verizon. This would move T-Mobile closer to those two, but not quite there. McAdam does believe that the industry will get even more competitive if this merger does get approved, which is a bit surprising to hear McAdam say that. It’s almost as if he is in favor of it, even though he is saying “we don’t care” regarding the merger.
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Unread 2018-05-05, 09:57 AM   #270
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T-Mobile Merger Skepticism Unsurprising: Sprint CEO

The widespread skepticism about the newly proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile is unsurprising, the former’s outgoing Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure believes, having told Reuters as much in response to a stock market hit both companies experienced this week. Most industry watchers and analysts are giving the $26.5 billion consolidation a 50-50 chance of being completed, citing Washington’s recent antitrust policy enforcement practices that even saw the Department of Justice move against AT&T’s proposed vertical merger with Time Warner which doesn’t take out any competition from the market, whereas a Sprint/T-Mobile tie-up would reduce the number of national wireless carriers in the United States from four to three. Both wireless carriers are still convinced they can complete their consolidation despite such challenges.

Tom Wheeler, former Federal Communications Commission Chairman, recently argued that T-Mobile and Sprint were promising to commercialize 5G on their own just weeks before they announced their merger, with their main pitch being that there’s no other way to ensure swift 5G deployment in the United States and pressure Verizon and AT&T into doing the same under the threat of increased competition created by their smaller rivals uniting. T-Mobile CEO John Legere claimed the company currently has over half a dozen rivals, adding that no single entity in the country can be considered a 5G player that a combined Sprint and T-Mobile would become, though Mr. Wheeler disagreed with that sentiment, having proposed a shared 5G network wherein the federal government is one of the wireless players as an alternative solution that doesn’t take out any more competition from the market and still accelerates stateside 5G deployment.

Mr. Claure will be leaving his CEO post at the end of the month and be succeeded by Sprint CFO Michel Combes, having been elevated to the position of SoftBank Group International CEO and SoftBank Group Corp Chief Operating Officer. T-Mobile and Sprint are hoping to see their merger approved by the end of the first half of 2019 and will continue pursuing their independent 5G buildout projects in the meantime.
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Unread 2018-05-05, 10:03 AM   #271
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Poorest U.S. consumers seen hit hard by T-Mobile, Sprint merger


(Reuters) - The poorest U.S. consumers would lose most from the proposed tie-up of wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) and Sprint Corp (S.N), according to consumer advocates who warned the combined company would raise fees for pre-paid and other low-cost mobile phone plans.

A smartphones with Sprint logo are seen in front of a screen projection of T-mobile logo, in this picture illustration taken April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
T-Mobile and Sprint announced a $26 billion all-stock deal on Sunday, saying they believed they could win over skeptical regulators because the merger would create thousands of jobs and help the United States beat China in creating 5G, the next generation mobile network.

But consumer groups complained the deal would lead to higher prices, hitting low-income people the hardest and leaving them fewer alternatives for communication.

Amparo Calcawell knows this well. The 62-year-old hairdresser has already lost her $50 per month Boost Mobile service due to a missed payment and fears higher prices will force her to find a new provider.

The New York City resident, speaking outside a Boost Mobile store in Manhattan holding a fistful of cash, needs her phone to keep in touch with family: “This is why a phone is so important.”

The Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department will likely review the proposed deal to determine if it would harm competition or if it is in the public interest.

While AT&T and Verizon dominate the U.S. wireless market overall, T-Mobile is the most popular among customers who make less than $75,000 per year, and Sprint’s pre-paid brand Boost counts 83 percent of its users in that income range, according to data from Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

T-Mobile has 38 percent of the U.S. pre-paid market, while Sprint has 16 percent, which would give the combined company 54 percent, according to S&P.

“Lower income consumers are likely to lose the most options and face stiff price hikes because Sprint and T-Mobile are the only game in town for them,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of advocacy group Public Knowledge and a former chief counsel for the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

In its antitrust review, the Justice Department would likely view the prepaid market as a separate market, and if they do the companies could be in for a tough review, experts said.

“It’s clearly putting a more than 50 percent leader in the market. That will draw serious scrutiny,” said Caroline Holland, a Mozilla tech policy fellow who formerly served as chief counsel for competition and intergovernmental relations in DOJ’s antitrust division.

Sprint Chief Executive Marcelo Claure told Reuters during a post-earnings call with reporters that customers will benefit from the stronger network of a combined Sprint and T-Mobile, and pricing will improve because of the network’s increased capacity.

“You’ll see this company be the best in pre-paid and post-paid,” Claure said, adding that by creating a better network, it will make the industry more competitive. “I think we have everything we need to lower prices and also grow market share.”

Consumers are already questioning the fewer choices among the major carriers. Sharron Cannon, 60, who lives in Harlem, New York, said she had canceled her Sprint plan because she was unhappy with the service and moved to T-Mobile, only to find out the companies were combining.

Now Cannon, an entrepreneur who depends on her phone to run her business, said she is concerned her bill will go up.

Spokespeople for T-Mobile had no immediate comment. AT&T and Verizon declined comment.

WHOLESALE WOES
T-Mobile and Sprint sell their airwaves to smaller wireless carriers that also serve low-income and budget-conscious customers, and a merger could hurt those carriers’ ability to negotiate for lower prices, said Stephen Stokols, chief executive of FreedomPop, which offers a free phone plan and uses Sprint’s network.

Retail wireless prices have declined over the past year and a half, but Stokols predicts price cuts will end after the merger.

FreedomPop has more than 2 million customers, and about 20 percent make less than $40,000 per year, Stokols said, adding about half of users are on the free phone service plan.

Since T-Mobile and Sprint have their own branded pre-paid users, and also power smaller pre-paid operators, the control the company would have over the market is concerning, Stokols said.

The deal is “good for the market, but bad for consumers,” Stokols said. “T-Mobile and Sprint have been driving down pricing previously. you won’t have competition at the bottom level anymore.”
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Unread 2018-05-14, 02:14 PM   #272
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Sprint’s past losses could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in a T-Mobile merger

Sprint Corp. is attractive to T-Mobile US Inc. for its customers, its spectrum — and its taxes.

Overland Park Sprint’s past losses mean it would bring T-Mobile annual tax deductions worth half a billion dollars or more, Bloomberg BNA reports. Sprint had $16.4 billion in federal tax loss carryforwards as of March 31, 2017 (A new figure will be out soon when the company files its form 10-K for the fiscal year that ended March 31). It also had $17.5 billion in state operating loss carryforwards, although those aren’t as valuable, Bloomberg BNA reports.

In an April 29 conference call, T-Mobile CFO J. Braxton Carter said the combined company “will not be a significant taxpayer until 2025.”
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Unread 2018-05-14, 02:16 PM   #273
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T-Mobile, Sprint come up short in making their case for a wireless merger

Economists call it "perfect competition" and it's basically the opposite of a monopoly. It's when a market has a sufficient number of players to ensure the highest level of efficiency for both buyers and sellers.

It's a principle that's once again being put to the test as T-Mobile and Sprint seek a merger that would reduce the number of major wireless carriers in the United States from four to three.

The two companies make an interesting case. They're arguing that amid a costly race to introduce next-generation 5G wireless networks, they'd be better able to compete with market leaders AT&T and Verizon by pooling their resources.

They're saying it's better for consumers to have three strong market players, rather than two strong ones and two weaker ones.

Analysts are mixed on the validity of this argument, but they're not dismissing it out of hand.

"The story they're telling is a plausible one," said Daniel Lyons, an associate professor at Boston College Law School who specializes in telecom matters.

"The question is whether, after a merger, they'd have the scale to compete with the two larger players," he said. "The answer is we don't know — and we don't know the effect this would have on the market."

Nicholas Economides, an economist at New York University, said that for a market to be considered truly competitive, it should have at least 10 players.

"In the case of the wireless market," he said, "we're already talking about an oligopoly. So a merger would just make an even more concentrated oligopoly."

Going from four to three players, Economides said, "makes it extremely likely prices will be higher."

That's usually the case. Less competition in an industry almost always translates to higher prices, worse service and less innovation.

Yet so far the wireless industry has largely bucked the trend.

Even with just a handful of providers, prices have remained relatively stable and at various intervals have come down amid price wars among carriers.

That's mostly been a factor of T-Mobile keeping rivals honest with scrappy moves such as getting rid of contracts, roaming fees and data limits.

So the question for federal officials is whether a more muscular T-Mobile would be able to come up with even more disruptive and consumer-friendly ideas, or if the market would be better served by preserving what little numerical competition remains.

Last September, the Republican majority of the Federal Communications Commission issued a report saying the U.S. wireless market had reached a state of "effective competition" for the first time since 2009, when there were nearly twice as many players duking it out for market share.

"Most reasonable people see a fiercely competitive marketplace," declared FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

No, most reasonable people do not see a fiercely competitive marketplace. They see average monthly wireless bills of $73 and spotty coverage that can cause entire neighborhoods to fall into black holes.

And if four players constitute "fierce competition," what does the FCC call the cable market, where consumers typically have only one provider to choose from? Moderate competition?

Both the FCC and Department of Justice are tasked with making sure proposed telecom mergers are in the public interest. Among other factors, they weigh how a possible decline in competition would affect consumers. The DOJ frequently requires merger partners to alter deal terms as a condition of approval.

My sense is that as our wireless oligopoly heads toward an eventual duopoly of AT&T and Verizon, the big dogs will feel increasingly comfortable exploiting their market clout, just as phone and cable companies have shown no hesitation pricing services as high as possible.

While having more market players than you can count on your fingers and toes is obviously preferable, economists frequently turn to what's known as the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, or HHI. The Justice Department uses the HHI in its scrutiny of proposed mergers.

It's a calculation that produces a number from less than 1 to 10,000 indicating the concentration of a market.

If there was only one company in a market, a monopoly, that would be an HHI of 10,000. If there were thousands of players, the HHI would be nearly zero — the blissful state of perfect competition mentioned above.

Any HHI above 1,800 is considered a sign that a market is highly concentrated, or seriously lacking competition.

As of last year, the HHI of the U.S. wireless market was close to 3,000. More than anything else, this stat poses trouble for the T-Mobile-Sprint deal.

The companies — which say they would ditch the Sprint name and call themselves T-Mobile — will need to make a case to authorities that somehow their merger will make for a more robust marketplace, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

The combined companies "will create a fierce competitor with the network scale to deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation and a second-to-none network experience," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement.

"The combination of these two dynamic companies can only benefit the U.S. consumer," chimed in Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.

That's hooey. What is believable, though, is that a wireless landscape shaped by superfast 5G services will require size and very deep pockets, and a merged T-Mobile-Sprint arguably would be in better shape to stand up to AT&T and Verizon.

"That's where they need to come up with a compelling story," said Gerald Faulhaber, a Wharton University professor emeritus of economics and former chief economist for the FCC.

"The level of competition in wireless isn't strictly determined by the number of players," he said. "Is it four? Is it five? Is it six? There's no hard and fast rule."

But if the companies want to pass muster with the FCC and DOJ, Faulhaber said, they can't just make lofty claims about being a stronger competitor. "They're going to have to prove it."

I don't think they can — just as AT&T was unable to make the case when it tried (and failed) to merge with T-Mobile in 2011.

T-Mobile and Sprint aren't helped by the fact that each company was crowing just a few months ago that they looked forward to being 5G leaders.

Nor does it bolster their case that Sprint last week reported its most profitable fiscal year ever. The company cited its growing customer base and "initiating deployment for the first truly mobile 5G network in the U.S."

Teresa Harrison, an associate professor of economics at Drexel University, said corporate executives always try to defend proposed mergers by saying they just won't be able to compete with other industry players unless they can combine forces.

"My guess is the data won't bear that out here," she said.

T-Mobile and Sprint are already big, and they're already doing well. They just need to do better.

That means they'll have to keep prices below those of AT&T and Verizon. They'll have to offer superior service. They'll have to innovate.

Maybe that's not perfect competition in the economic sense. But it's chutzpah.

I'd settle for chutzpah.
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Unread 2018-05-14, 02:18 PM   #274
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Sprint, T-Mobile Vow Merger Won’t Repeat Nextel Havoc
Customers worry $26 billion deal will repeat ‘horrors’ of a 2005 deal




Sprint’s plan to merge with rival T-Mobile in a $26 billion deal has triggered memories of dead phones and spotty service for some longtime Sprint customers, but the companies say such pitfalls are in the past.

The customers are recalling the havoc of Sprint’s 2005 merger with Nextel Communications Inc., much of it driven by the companies’ differing technologies.

It took nearly eight years and billions of dollars to wind down Nextel’s so-called iDEN system—known for its chirpy push-to-talk cellphones—before all customers were taking calls on Sprint’s network. In the process, more than 10 million customers of the combined company left.

Michael Murphy, an advocate for people with disabilities in Alamogordo, N.M., said he first dropped Sprint for Nextel about 15 years ago to get better service on long drives through the desert. He said he dropped the carrier a second time after the Nextel merger made him a Sprint customer and signed up for T-Mobile.

“I’ve been satisfied with T-Mobile,” said Mr. Murphy, 66 years old. “I’m worried now that Sprint’s going to infect them.”

A Sprint spokeswoman said the networks involved in the Nextel deal were different from those that exist today. Nextel’s push-to-talk phones weren’t designed to communicate with Sprint’s network, which was built upon “code-division multiple access” wireless technology, or CDMA, so Sprint had to drive more customers onto new devices. The CDMA technology was developed by U.S. chip maker Qualcomm Inc. for phone calls long before internet data became the coin of the wireless realm.

Business customers who relied on the radio-like iDEN phones were especially reluctant to switch to a network designed for high-speed data that many of them said they didn’t need.




Gary Forsee, former CEO of Sprint, left, and Nextel CEO Timothy Donahue at the December 2004 announcement of the two companies’ deal, which was beset by problems. PHOTO: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Some of Sprint’s past problems stemmed from the piecemeal development of U.S. wireless networks in the early 2000s. Sprint and Verizon Communications Inc. used CDMA networks while AT&T and T-Mobile used GSM, an incompatible technology favored in Europe and much of Asia.

Next-generation “long-term evolution” technology did away with that distinction. New cellphones use LTE for everything from phone calls to streaming media and fall back to the old technology only when no other signal is available. The new LTE rules for handling data also have made it easier for customers to switch providers.

Sprint and T-Mobile say they are taking several steps to prepare for their potential combination. The companies have arranged for Sprint customers to roam on T-Mobile’s more up-to-date network, an agreement that will last for four years regardless of whether the merger wins regulators’ approval.



Now T-Mobile has agreed to buy Sprint, the U.S. wireless industry is about to be dominated by three major players. But how did we go from the days of one giant landline monopoly to four competitive cell companies? Illustration: Shaumbe Wright/WSJ

T-Mobile, now the bigger wireless provider in terms of customers, says it plans to shift Sprint’s customers to its network. That means about 60 million subscribers of T-Mobile and MetroPCS, which merged with T-Mobile in 2013, would keep using the same cellphone towers and equipment. Another 20 million Sprint customers—a little more than half it subscriber base—use phones that will work on T-Mobile’s network from day one, executives said, because of the LTE technology that all four national wireless operators adopted.

In the past, companies like Sprint and Verizon had to dangle new cellphones to coax customers acquired through mergers into staying on. Even then, some subscribers were left with useless devices once the acquirers shut off their old networks.


“For our customers, this story is purely good,” T-Mobile Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert said during an employee meeting. “There’s nothing they have to do. They don’t have to get a new handset. They don’t have to change anything.”

For some Sprint customers, however, phone calls could still pose a problem because they use devices that still rely on CDMA technology for voice calls and can’t support LTE calls.

T-Mobile said today’s CDMA users will eventually need to get new phones, but noted that it has experience taking over a CDMA-based network through its MetroPCS deal. Although it took about two years to move MetroPCS’s old devices onto the new network, neither brand suffered customer losses during the transition, T-Mobile said.

The eventual CDMA shutdown will inconvenience some flip-phone users, said Iain Gillott, a telecom analyst for Austin, Texas, research firm iGR. A second group of customers with somewhat older smartphones will probably keep their existing service but could lack access to the expanded bandwidth a network merger offers.

“You could see either an immediate difference or no difference at all until you buy a new handset,” Mr. Gillott said. But “in terms of the horrors of the iDEN network, those days really have passed.”
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Unread 2018-05-17, 09:30 AM   #275
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T-Mobile CTO Explains How Sprint Merger Might Work



Speaking at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit, T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray has provided a few key details for how a merger with Sprint might work. Comparing the network integration to the company’s previous merger with MetroPCS, Ray explained that the bulk of the process would center around migrating customers and would be relatively simple. To begin with, the primary asset of concern in the merger would be Sprint’s spectrum holdings. That would be used to build out T-Mobile’s network further, adding both scale and density. The new carrier would also avoid building out new infrastructure as much as possible over the short term. Although the merger is, according to Ray, still at least a year from gaining approval, the next step would be to begin switching Sprint customers over to the new T-Mobile network. That shouldn’t be too difficult either; Ray says that a substantial portion of those customers – around 20 million – already use handsets that are compatible with both Sprint’s CDMA network and T-Mobile’s, which is GSM-based.

That entire process, Ray continues, would be predicted to take between two and three years. The cost of any new buildouts or adjustments to current Sprint infrastructure would be spread across that. However, the companies are still waiting for approval from the appropriate agencies and are currently in talks with the FCC, the DOJ, and the Committee on Foreign Investment in U.S. Companies. For the time being, everything seems to be going relatively well. One commissioner at the FCC reportedly compared the possibility of the merger in terms of moving from annoyingly kicking competitors in the shins to “punching them in the face,” according to Ray. Bearing that in mind, and despite the fact that AT&T appears willing to accept the merger, there still aren’t any guarantees the deal will move forward.
Sprint recently posted its best-ever financial quarter, which may give regulators some pause when considering whether or not the companies can compete on their own. Similar mergers have been pressed in the past and have generally failed over concerns about negative impacts on the competitiveness of the market. Moreover, plans revealed at the summit for a new competitive media service based on the pair’s combined company’s fixed wireless offerings could compound the issue. So it remains to be seen whether Sprint and T-Mobile can gain approval for a merger and, for the time being, there’s no way to gauge the accuracy of guesses, regarding which way things might go.
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