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Sprint 'Betting Big On Trump,' Could Merge With T-Mobile Or Comcast (arstechnica.com) 89

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Speculation that Sprint will merge with T-Mobile USA or another competitor has ramped up since the inauguration of President Donald Trump. That continued Friday when a report from The New York Times suggested that Sprint could be combined with either T-Mobile or Comcast, the nation's largest cable company. Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Sprint owner SoftBank, "and his financial advisers are weighing several major possible deals for Sprint," the Times wrote. "Be it a tie-up with T-Mobile U.S., Sprint's closest competitor, or a more ambitious marriage with the cable colossus Comcast, a transaction would allow Mr. Son to fulfill a long-held ambition to invest aggressively in wireless networks in the United States and enable next-generation mobile technology." Titled "The World's Top Tech Investor Is Betting Big on Trump," the Times report says that "the Trump administration's push for lighter regulation and lower taxes has been a powerful lure for cash-rich investors the world over." SoftBank, which is based in Japan, had several of its executives "spen[d] a day in Washington talking to senior members of Mr. Trump's economic team" last month, according to bankers who were briefed on the meetings, the Times report said. U.S. regulators opposed wireless consolidation during the Obama administration, preventing potential mergers between AT&T and T-Mobile and later between Sprint and T-Mobile. With four major nationwide carriers, U.S. wireless competition recently led to an expansion of unlimited data plans.
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Sprint 'Betting Big On Trump,' Could Merge With T-Mobile Or Comcast

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  • Monopoly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Soon, we will have fewer choices again.

    • yeah, especially after Verizon and Charter merge [marketrealist.com].
    • The ultimate goal of all businesses is to have 100% of the market they operate in.

      The US broke up Bell exactly because they were a monopoly, and service suffered as a result.

      The broken up bits of Bell have spent the last few years trying to re-form, and it looks like they will succeed.

      • And Bell was a monopoly to begin with because...?

        • ...because utilities are natural monopolies? [wikipedia.org]

        • I'm not sure to be honest. Wikipedia says they bought up all their competition in the early 20th Century, and had various anti-trust finding against them, but until Bell was broken up in 1984 the terms all seem pretty generous.

          With what I know of US politics, I'm going to go right ahead and assume they used a tiny portion of their profits to buy off politicians, because that's exactly what the current telecoms monopolies do.

    • Sprint 'Betting Big On Trump,' Could Merge With T-Mobile Or Comcast...sweet, maybe they will finally honor the "unlimited data" deals so we can download "all" the apps we use on a daily basis and not pay more than we already are...cough, cough.
  • by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @05:27PM (#53987571)

    Then at least nothing of value would be lost.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know about that. Sprint + Comcast merger may produce a shit hole singularity and end the universe.

  • Sure, why not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quonset ( 4839537 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @05:41PM (#53987643)

    What this country needs when it comes to cable and broadband providers is less competition and higher prices. Let's fall even further behind the rest of the industrialized world.

    • Exactly.

      2017: Sprint + Comcast = Comcast
      2018: Verizon + Comcast = Comcast
      2019: AT&T + Comcast = AT&T

      The logo will be the original AT&T Death Star, multi-colored like the NBC peacock, with a big red check mark on top. The Death Star will be firing at the Earth.

    • Yes! You can almost smell the stone age living coming to this country already! ..'Unregulated Capitalism is self-devouring.'
  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Monday March 06, 2017 @05:53PM (#53987705) Homepage Journal
    By my understanding of mobile phone technology and protocols those are the two least compatible networks in the USA at the present time. All the customers of one would eventually be stuck buying phones running the protocol of the other. Wouldn't a Sprint / Verizon merger make a lot more sense from a technology standpoint?

    Merging with Comcast might make some sense, but I don't recall hearing Comcast ever express a previous interest in going into the mobile market.
    • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

      That matters less and less. With VoLTE those existing networks could be made compatible with all new handsets. As 5G rolls out in the next few years, that's going to happen regardless. GSM and CDMA will not be used for the Voice traffic.

      • by jpbelang ( 79439 )

        5g won't be rolling out anytime soon, most probably. My understanding is that the costs are pretty high, and the increase in market penetration isn't there. So providers aren't that keen.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/bus... [telegraph.co.uk]

    • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

      All the customers of one would eventually be stuck buying phones running the protocol of the other.

      You make the mistake of assuming this would be done for the benefit of the consumer.

    • T-Mobile bought MetroPCS, which similarly was a cdmaOne/cdma2000 network, and has converted it to GSM, so there's a precedent.

      Indeed, Sprint PCS itself bought out a GSM network in the DC area fairly early on in its history, and forced customers to switch to its very-inferior cdmaOne based system (which at the time didn't support two way text messaging or data in any form, let alone SIM cards/personal mobility)

      Later on, Sprint PCS bought NEXTEL which used some kind of custom mobile phone standard built

  • Sprint is rubbish in my opinion, which makes them a perfect fit for Comcast. I'll do business with neither, although I welcome either changing my mind by proving they can deliver a good quality, competitive service.

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @08:48PM (#53989181) Homepage Journal

    The talk of Comcast makes a lot of sense to me. The writing is on the wall for wired home services--it's just a matter of time before the cell companies decide to push hard into that market. For most consumers, they could swap out their cable boxes and cable modem for versions that use LTE instead of coax. It would just be a matter of the cell companies having sufficient bandwidth.

    Certainly Comcast sees this coming. Buying Sprint would be their best move to stay relevant as the market shifts. Instead of sitting around while the cell companies eat into their market, they can use Sprint to eat into the markets of their competitors.

    Now I would much rather see Alphabet (Google) buy Sprint. That could enhance the competitive marketplace for home Internet and video instead of constrict it.

    • We used to (and still do!) have wireless TV. It offers far fewer channels with all kinds of reception problems, and that's using it as one-to-many solution that broadcasts at whatever time it feels is appropriate. Cable actually grew up because of all the transmission problems. And honestly, I don't know why anyone would prefer a wireless connection over fiber? Ever. Maybe within your home on 2.4 or 5.4 spectra.

      Now I would much rather see Alphabet (Google) buy Sprint. That could enhance the competiti

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