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AT&T CFO “doesn't think” that the Sprint and T-Mobile merger is possible

Posted: , by Luis D.

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AT&T CFO “doesn't think” that the Sprint and T-Mobile merger is possible

AT&T's Chief Marketing Officer, John Stephens, took the opportunity to comment on Sprint's apparent intent to acquire T-Mobile, USA's fourth largest carrier. Stephens said that AT&T has pushed for industry consolidation in the past, because of increasing data demands and capital requirements to upgrade networks amidst the shrinkage of available spectrum. However, he expressed skepticism towards the possibility of a Sprint/T-Mobile merger, perhaps owing to AT&T's failed attempt to acquire T-Mo in 2011. Due to regulatory disapproval, the $39 billion proposed takeover crashed and burned. It ended with T-Mobile receiving $1 billion worth of AT&T spectrum, while $3 billion was paid to Deutsche Telecom (T-mo's owners) in a "break-up fee". Having played and lost this tricky game before, Stephens said that "it would be surprising" if the federal regulators decided to change their minds and approve the deal. "I don't think they will." - added the CFO.

AT&T CFO John Stephens

AT&T CFO John Stephens

On the other side of the spectrum, Masayoshi Son - CEO of SoftBank, the Japanese company which owns Sprint, is full of enthusiasm about the merger. He said that the consolidation has the potential to bring a "massive price war" and ignite healthy competition in the US market. But the regulators' response so far has only reaffirmed Stephens' skepticism. SoftBank and Sprint's meetings with the DOJ and FCC made it clear that US officials prefer the current status quo of four large carriers, even though 75% of the US wireless market is spread between Verizon and AT&T. It's possible that the regulators would like to see whether the growing "Un-carrier" will manage to even out customer distribution on its own in the coming years. Meanwhile, Son believes that a merger with Sprint is the only way to challenge the Verizon-AT&T duopoly, and has already raised financing for the merger from a number of American banks. Being wary of paying a huge break-up fee, Son won't be quick to announce SoftBank's intentions, but he believes that the deal "must be given a shot".

The AT&T CFO is also skeptical about the carrier's business prospects in Europe. He confessed that "the window of opportunity on owning assets in Europe may be closing". This uncertainty could be attributed to the company's recent discouragement of acquiring Vodafone in Britain. For now, it seems that AT&T, jokingly referred to as the "Death Star", will retain its focus on the US side of the planet.

via Fierce Wireless

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posted on 12 Mar 2014, 10:29 2

1. axllebeer (Posts: 271; Member since: 05 Apr 2011)

We shall see I suppose. As much work as Sprint has been doing upgrading the towers for improved CDMA and LTE I can't imagine they want to do it again if they were to transition over to GSM, which really is the best thing to do from what I can see IF they go through with this.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 10:51 4

2. papss (unregistered)

I don't see them allowing a merger

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 20:40 1

21. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

Not. Gonna. Happen. Masayoshi is all full of himself - just because he thinks it would be a good deal, doesn't mean the DoJ and FCC agree. There is a real world outside the SoftBank bubble. He needs to spend more time in the real world.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 11:23 3

3. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

I want this to follow through, get denied, and have Son give T-Mobile $3 billion in cash and spectrum.

Now, if Legere is running the show and Sprint switches to GSM (unlikely), then I'm all in.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 14:24

12. TheRequiem (Posts: 245; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)

Will never happen and they will never switch to HSPA... Why would they and why does even care? Everything will be LTE in a few years.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 16:16 3

15. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


posted on 12 Mar 2014, 11:46 1

4. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 1121; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)

I explained to alot of people that the AT&T - Tmobile was a good idea because it would an easy transition.............but there were plenty of people that ripped on me about it

NOW theres doubt about the Sprint - Tmobile merger!! You cant have a merger that involves GSM and CDMA because of network incapabilities. You might as well leave Tmobile the way it is because the only company that can merge with them is AT&T. There are those that will think that Im crazy, but you have to be realistic

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 12:15 3

6. Zenzui (Posts: 114; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)

ATT and Tmobile merger is one of the worst idea ever. If this goes thru in the past. All the people under GSM would get ripped off by ATT.

However for sprint and tmobile merge it is 2 different type of service (GSM and CDMA). I will leave this option open on how this would be tackled.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 13:43 3

10. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

I was all for the merger. Better coverage and still cheaper than Verizon.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 13:03 2

8. Lmao2013 (Posts: 44; Member since: 05 Dec 2013)

If I'm not mistaken metro pcs was CDMA and it merge with tmobile GSM network.. N I'm not sure but I think metro pcs now supports GSM.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 13:42 3

9. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Yes, it does. T-Mobile is slowly shifting MPCS customers to GSM phones and onto their network.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 20:24 3

20. andynaija (Posts: 983; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

Also T-Mobile will start to decommission the former CDMA network towards the end of the year.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 11:59 2

5. silencer271 (Posts: 254; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)

Not happening FCC stated they wanted a 4 carrier battle. A 4 carrier battle is what they will get

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 12:25 1

7. Kishin (Posts: 706; Member since: 30 May 2013)

No way It won't happen

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 14:19 1

11. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

And people don't WANT AT&T to merge with t mobile

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 14:33 3

13. MrWilli5 (Posts: 77; Member since: 13 Feb 2011)

sprint sucks i hope tmobile and sprint don't merge

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 15:45 2

14. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)

He's just bitter because he couldn't push it through and had to cough up billions in concession.

Personally, I'd love to see T-Mobile and Sprint together aka "Dumb and Dumber".

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 16:18 3

16. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

This "dumb" company gives me five bars of unlimited LTE almost everywhere in Chicago and that's all that matters to me.

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 17:07

17. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)

Which one: T-Mobile or Sprint?

posted on 12 Mar 2014, 18:16 1

18. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)


posted on 12 Mar 2014, 18:58

19. papss (unregistered)

I get that it works for you due to your situation but the vast majority of folks can't use tmob due to its Swiss cheese coverage in many many areas. Anyone that has to go anywhere other than select cities should avoid them at all cost.
glad it works for you though...

posted on 13 Mar 2014, 17:25

23. theuwilliam (Posts: 4; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)

Your comment, "Dumb and Dumber" made me laugh -- not that I agree with the dub.

posted on 13 Mar 2014, 09:31 2

22. tokuzumi (Posts: 1211; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)

If sprint becomes T-Mobile, this will be a better merger than if T-Mobile becomes Sprint. T-Mobile has done a pretty good job with the Metro PCS buyout. Everything Sprint buys turns to lead. The Motorola buyout didn't give them much but heartache (different network technologies, two sets of phones to support, etc). Their investment in Clearwire was a waste of money. They own Boost and Virgin, but need to allow any of their phones on those networks. I loved the unlimited mobile to any mobile they started a few years back, but overall, Sprint has a black thumb when it comes to making things grow.

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