T-Mobile and Sprint Agree to Merge
After a number of failed attempts over the years, T-Mobile and Sprint are officially merging.
The deal will combine the No. 3 and 4 wireless carriers in the U.S., which will be known as T-Mobile. John Legere, the outspoken current chief of T-Mobile will be CEO of the newly combined firm; Mike Sievert, current T-Mobile chief operating officer, will be president and COO of the combined company.
T-Mobile will be headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., with a second HQ in Sprint's current home of Overland Park, Kan. The merger values Sprint at $59 billion and the combined company at around $146 billion.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure will serve on the board of the new company, as will Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank, which will own 27 percent of the combined company.
Son has been pursuing this deal for years. In 2014, he offered $32 billion for T-Mobile, but got shot down by the Obama administration's Department of Justice on antitrust grounds. In the wake of Donald Trump's election, rumors about the merger once again emerged, as GOP administrations are generally more favorable to these types of deals. But talks in the fall of 2017 ultimately fell apart.
That deal is now back on. Both companies are framing the deal as a way to "lead in the 5G era" and compete against Verizon and AT&T. But PCMag mobile analyst Sascha Segan isn't convinced.
"The problem is, as has been seen elsewhere, when you get down to three wireless carriers, things get a little too cozy. Technology investment doesn't drop, but prices rise. That's been the situation in Canada for years -- with three dominant carriers, they have great networks, but high prices and no nationwide unlimited data plans," he wrote on Friday.
"This sort of competitive analysis was used to strike down the AT&T/T-Mobile merger in 2011," he pointed out.
Stay tuned for how regulators react to this deal. For more from Sascha, check out his Twitter feed.