News today about the upcoming merger of T-Mobile and Sprint suggests that the two wireless providers won’t be selling any of their assets ahead of an announcement that could come as early as later this month.
Reuters reports that with the carriers expecting a tough road ahead with regulators, the companies have decided to hold on to their spectrum holdings before making expected concessions in negotiations.
While it is common for companies not to unveil divestitures during merger announcements, T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s approach shows that the companies plan to enter what could be challenging negotiations with U.S. antitrust and telecommunications regulators without having made prior concessions.
Informal talks about a renewed merger between the two carriers were rumored to have started back in May, while we heard last month that an initial agreement was close at hand.
The report notes that if the merger would happen, it would create about 130 million wireless customers, putting a combined T-Mobile/Sprint just behind Verizon and AT&T who have roughly 146 million and 134 million customers respectively.
Today’s report notes that last week some U.S. Justice Department antitrust staff had doubts about this deal, but that a merger can only be reviewed once it has been officially agreed upon and announced.
We could see an announcement later this month or early next month.
The companies’ announcement of a merger agreement, currently expected to come either in late October or early November, will focus on the potential benefits of the deal for U.S. consumers, including the advancement of next-generation 5G wireless technology, which requires considerable investment, the sources added.