If you are rooting against the proposed Sprint and T-Mobile merger, it could be time to give up the good fight. Though many (the FCC included) would prefer the two stay separate, recent comments made by a T-Mobile executive hint that their joining forces is inevitable. The comments not only attempt to soften opinion on the merger, but suggest it’s going to happen.
At a recent Internet and telecom conference, T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said “It is not a question of if, it is a question of when” in regard to his company merging and consolidating in the future. Though not specifically mentioning Sprint, Carter’s other comment is what really strikes a nerve:
To take a third-scale national player that has the scale benefits with the right business model could be very competitively enhancing in the U.S.
Interesting commentary, but to whom is he referring? What is the right business model? As Reuters points out, the CFO’s salinet reasoning flies in the face of their wildcard CEO, who bashed Sprint just last week via (you guessed it) Twitter. In a tweet, John Legere poked fun at Sprint’s popularity. Though seemingly jocular in tone, it could be Legere is just jockeying for position in an upcoming merger.
Legere points out most people dislike Sprint. The CFO says a merger is a good idea — with the right business plan in place. While Sprint parent company Softbank is leading the purchasing charge for T-Mobile, it could be the T-Mobile brand that sticks around, not Sprint. The merger still puts the newly formed company in third place behind AT&T and Verizon, so it's likely not going to ruffle the same feathers in the FCC.
Though the FCC is historically against a merger, Carter is challenging them to step up. “The government can't have their cake and eat it too. If they think there really needs to be four players in this market on a nationwide basis, they are going to have to put some structural protections to ensure an adequate distribution of spectrum.”