Sprint and T-Mobile deal hits mudpatch over mixing with Washington, networks
Sprint and T-Mobile know how they want to pay for a merger that’s expected to come down the line in the next few weeks. But The Wall Street Journal reports that negotiations are now trudging through considerations for regulatory scrutiny and network integration.
Sources say that the transaction will be all-stock and T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom will be the majority stakeholder and that CEO Tim Hottges will co-chair the new entity with Masayoshi Son, chairman of Sprint and its parent, SoftBank. T-Mobile CEO John Legere would be CEO of the new entity. The two sides now have to figure out how to tackle Washington regulators — agencies cast enough doubts on a merger attempt between the two in 2014 to squash it — and network integration.
Some conciliatory measures to the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice could be the relinquishment certain spectrum license and those will play into how the two networks will work together. Sprint has hired a lobbyist close to the Trump administration to potentially help its cause. Even with the president’s economic tendencies trending towards lassiez-faire, analysts see this deal going down either way. Worse yet, the deal might not go public and dissolve altogether.
If a deal fails after principles are set out, there would be no termination fee, but Sprint would get a roaming agreement on T-Mobile’s network to serve areas in its dead zones.
We may see an announcement notched within the next several weeks.