Sprint Purportedly Rethinking Acquisition of T-Mobile

Sprint Purportedly Rethinking Acquisition of T-MobileSpeculation swirling around the carrier today indicates that Sprint is reconsidering a potential acquisition of T-Mobile.

As MMW reported in December, Sprint – the nation’s third largest mobile operator – is interested in acquiring T-Mobile, which is something AT&T attempted and failed to do just two years previously.

Sprint’s newfound hesitation, the WSJ reports, “makes sense after antitrust officials expressed strong sentiments against a deal publicly.”

Sources in the know reveal that Sprint has learned from telecom regulators that a T-Mobile-Sprint merger won’t be uncomplicated.

Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son and Chief Executive Dan Hesse, who met with officials at the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission in Washington in recent weeks, always knew a deal would be a tough sell, the people said. But the men were surprised by the level of opposition and its very public nature, one of the people said.

If Sprint pulls it off, the deal would result in the nation being dominated by just three separate carriers.

A merger of the third and fourth largest U.S. carriers would create a sizable competitor to industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. But it would likely face tough opposition from antitrust authorities, who worry consumers could suffer without a fourth national competitor to keep a check on prices.

In fact, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently stated that “the mobile business is today, with four carriers, a competitive business, and it’s important it stay that way.”