Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

Summary: Reports are coming out that T-Mobile USA's parent company may be talking with Sprint about some kind of merger or buyout of T-Mobile USA. It would be interesting to see the 3rd and 4th place U.S. carrier combine to take on the top two.

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I have been a T-Mobile customer for about nine years and was a Sprint customer for over a year. According to PhoneScoop these two may soon become one here in the U.S. There has been talks before of T-Mobile USA being merged with Sprint, but it now seems these talks are getting more serious, which makes sense given that the 3rd and 4th largest U.S. carriers are both losing customers and having a tough time competing with iPhone carriers Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Deutsche Telekom is the European parent of T-Mobile USA and according to Bloomberg Businessweek they are talking to Sprint about selling off the T-Mobile USA part of the company. Reportedly, there are issues around valuing T-Mobile USA so nothing may ever come of these talks, but it is interesting to think about how this could shake out.

T-Mobile USA is a GSM carrier (you use a SIM card with their phones) while Sprint is a CDMA carrier. I like GSM carriers myself since I can bring any phone onto the network by popping in a SIM card and have the most flexibility for phone purchases. T-Mobile USA uses HSPA+ for their "4G" network while Sprint uses WiMAX. The merging of the two would mean that the new company would have to figure out which technology to use for their network and I hope it would be the GSM one. LTE also uses SIM cards and is the future for fellow CDMA carrier Verizon Wireless so I imagine if this combined company was forward thinking they would go with the GSM/LTE option as well.

Both Sprint and T-Mobile USA have the lowest wireless plans and seem to be the most "open" with things like wireless hotspot connectivity. Neither carrier has an iOS device, but they do have Windows Phone 7, Symbian, Android, BlackBerry, and webOS devices. A combined company may be more appealing to Apple too and we could eventually see an iPhone on such a company as well.

I have been a long time T-Mobile customer due to the great coverage I get, excellent customer service, support for unlocked GSM devices, fast data speeds (now with fast 3G and HSPA+), and reasonable pricing plans. Sprint has very good pricing plans too and in recent years I have been happy with their customer service. It all depends on the technology a combined company may use because I think going all CDMA would not be good for us happy existing T-Mobile customers. I would hate for there to be just one GSM wireless carrier in the US, but then again when LTE is prevalent this may not matter as much.

Topics: Telcos, Hardware, Mobility, Wi-Fi

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23 comments
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  • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

    They can become more than number 3 if they get better coverage. Both companies have limited coverage areas.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

      @Loverock Davidson

      Sprint customers can roam for free on the Verizon network (both are currently CDMA).
      illdini
      • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

        @illdini
        I wasn't aware of that.
        Loverock Davidson
      • Yes, but watch how much you do that

        @illdini They can roam, but there are limits to the amount of roaming and if you roam for the majority of the time Sprint may contact you about cancelling your contract. They have roaming agreements, but they are not designed for people to roam all the time.
        palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

        @palmsolo

        "if you roam for the majority of the time Sprint may contact you about cancelling your contract."

        All the major wireless carriers will do this because roaming can get expensive. I have seen AT&T do the exact same thing to a family member who travels for his job.
        soonerproud
      • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

        @illdini I guess none of you are aware of T-Mobile's Extreme Roamer Reduction (ERR). T-Mobile has a special task force assigned to do nothing but get rid of customers who roam extensively off the T-Mobile network. If you get audited in a periodic "wave," you get a letter giving you approximately 30 days to find another carrier -- or else. Many people are thrilled because it's T-Mobile breaking the contract with them and therefore no Early Termination Fee, instead of vice versa, but more often than not, the impact on most ERR customers is downright cruel. Ask the folks on the Indian reservations in Arizona and New Mexico who got their service cut, for example. Most customers in this situation either can't afford or don't have good enough credit to change carriers on such short notice. You can huff and puff and threaten legal action or media exposes all you want and T-Mobile will still pull the plug on you. The people in the ERR call center had the most thankless, miserable job of any branch of customer relations, and T-Mobile showed its appreciation to those agents by re-outsourcing all their jobs "offshore," as the euphemism goes. So please think twice before boasting about how much roaming you can do on the T-Mobile network -- Big Brother *is* watching.
        natalie@...
    • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

      @Loverock Davidson
      yes all you have to do is turn on roaming only and its like verizon service. most of the time though, sprint isnt too bad by itself.
      rocketboy5114
  • no0on0on0o0o0o0o0!!!!

    Don't sell out, T-Mo! You're the last carrier that isn't completely evil!
    voyager529
    • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

      @voyager529T
      Too bad their 3G runs at EDGE speed...
      Hasam1991
      • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

        @Hasam1991
        Where? In Orange County, my T-Mobile 3G is pretty dang fast.
        Droid101
    • TMo is simply horrid.

      @voyager529

      I had TMo and it was the worst 2 years of phone service ever. I could travel for days and never see a cell.
      Bruizer
      • Is there anything you do like, Bruizer?

        NT
        LTV10
      • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

        I had the same problem using my at&t phone with my tin foil hat also. Loosen it up a bit and tilt it towards the east and you'll be fine.
        Veriasian Buffet
      • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

        @Bruizer

        I had the same problem with verizon I found that loosening the tinfoil hat and pointing it to the east, I could get a better connection. give it a shot.
        Veriasian Buffet
    • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

      @voyager529 There are hundreds of recently unemployed North American call center employees (330 in Louisiana alone) who would disagree with your statement that T-Mobile is "the last carrier that isn't completely evil." T-Mobile was already outsourcing its call centers to third-party companies in remote rural locations in the United States and Canada, but that wasn't still wasn't cheap enough for them. Now their consumer credit / activations / number transfer center calls are rerouted to the Philippines. Good luck trying to find someone whose native language isn't Tagalog the next time you need a customer care rep, especially if you're on FlexPay.
      natalie@...
    • Not completely evil?

      @voyager529 Based on what? From my point of view, all companies have their problems, but I wouldnt call any of them evil.
      otaddy
  • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

    Talk about spin. Tmonews.com just had a blog saying just the opposite, that DT is not intending to sell off its TMOUSA arm. but is rather in negotiations for spectrum. I wouldn't mind DT buying up Sprint, but Sprint gobbling up TMOUSA is far less appealing. Nextel's demise, still ongoing, was bad enough, heaven help T-Mo if Sprint eats it.
    podstolom
    • Tmonews updated theirs too

      @podstolom FYI, Tmonews posted an updated post based on this new info as well.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
    • RE: Sprint and T-Mobile sitting in a tree, can they become more than number three?

      Hey, thanks for point that out. We all know that "Tmonews.com" is a verified and unbiased source.
      Veriasian Buffet
  • I sincerly hope Sprint learned it's lesson.

    If still have irritable bowel syndrome leftover from buying Nextel. The synergies were awesome in that there were absolutely none. It has taken them this long to almost recover from that experience. Buying or merging with T-Mobile would mean that Verizon picks up the leftovers of the Sprint network and AT&T picks up the leftovers of the T-Mobile network a couple of years down the road and we are left with two absolutely arrogant and overpriced carriers.

    TripleII
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827