America’s fourth largest mobile network operator hasn’t exactly been thriving over the past few years, falling from third place in subscribers nationwide as T-Mobile carried out its spectacular “Un-carrier” revolution.

Instead of courting Magenta for a long-rumored merger that would see it take control of the old archival and call the shots within the prospective alliance, Sprint may need to settle for playing second fiddle if the complicated deal is ever sealed.

For the time being however, the Softbank-owned US telecommunications holding company is reportedly in “exclusive” talks with Charter and Comcast about an as-yet unspecific wireless “partnership.”

The top two cable TV providers stateside have already agreed to form a united front as they attempt to branch out and break out into the cellular industry, starting with a Verizon-powered MVNO called Xfinity Mobile.

Their intentions might be to get Sprint on board of the Xfinity project for expanded coverage, more reliable service and faster speeds in areas where Big Red’s infrastructure and a growing network of public WiFi hotspots can’t cut it. But as Sprint, Comcast and Charter plan to discuss various ways of coming together in a mutually advantageous manner for up to two months, the end result could be more elaborate than that aforementioned safe bet.

A minority equity investment in Sprint and even an outright acquisition are definitely possible (though the latter seems unlikely), and at least until the end of July, all talks with T-Mobile US or German parent company Deutsche Telekom are halted.

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