Markets

SoftBank logs second-best annual profit, talks up T-Mobile deal potential

SoftBank logs second-best annual profit, talks up T-Mobile deal potential

T-Mobile has committed to building out a nationwide 5G network before anyone else and Verizon and AT&T will roll out trials of 5G as a home broadband service.

"Of all potential partners, T-Mobile is the one that would yield the most synergies, the most orthodox choice and we'd sincerely love to begin talks", he told a news conference, adding that the current USA administration is far more open to the possibility of a deal.

Back then Sprint was widely considered to be the third biggest wireless carrier in the USA, but its fortunes have since declined.

Bloomberg reported that the possibility of renewed merger talks was raised by SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son during a discussion with reporters in Tokyo Wednesday.

T-Mobile stock initially rose as much as 3.3 percent Wednesday while Sprint climbed 2.8 percent, but they both gave up their gains in later trading. Neither Sprint nor T-Mobile ever commented publicly about the rumors at the time.

SoftBank acquired Sprint in 2013 and made efforts to merge it with T-Mobile US, but abandoned the bid the following year as USA regulators were skeptical about leaving the market with too few mobile carriers.

Any deal involving T-Mobile would need the backing of Deutsche Telekom, which owns about 65 percent of the USA carrier. "And so that is why we want to be open if there are any other possibilities with better conditions and better opportunities for this industry consolidation". Website The Verge noted that "the carrier is looking to develop its 5G network in the 2.5GHz band of spectrum (E-UTRA LTE Band 41, to be precise), meaning that Sprint doesn't seem to be pursing millimeter wave for 5G at this time". T-Mobile, meanwhile, is the fastest-growing wireless carrier in the USA, using promotions, price cuts and social-media marketing to lure customers from Verizon and AT&T. Ray said the biggest news there is about High Performance User Equipment (HPUE), a handset-based technology that probably provides some benefits for Sprint, but he said it's a far cry from leveling the playing field with mid-band spectrum.

A merger of Sprint and T-Mobile would create the second-largest US wireless carrier with 99.1 million retail subscribers compared with AT&T's 91.2 million and Verizon's 113.9 million, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The investment fund is almost ready for its official launch, Son also said.


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