T-Mobile, Sprint call it quits on merger talks

The rivals and long-rumored merger partners ended speculation about a combination. The two wireless carriers will go it alone vs. Verizon and AT&T.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

T-Mobile and Sprint won't be merging after all.

The companies said Saturday in a statement that they have ceased merger talks because they "were unable to find mutually agreeable terms."

T-Mobile and Sprint have been rumored to be merger partners for years. The latest round of talks got so close that T-Mobile didn't hold an earnings conference call over the speculation.

Reports indicated that T-Mobile and Sprint hit turbulence over merger talks, but then T-Mobile sweetened the pot a bit with parent company Deutsche Telekom. However, a deal never materialized.

In a statement, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the combination with Sprint "has been compelling for a variety of reasons," but couldn't close.

Legere said:

We have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile's shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance and track record.

Apparently, the biggest hurdle in a T-Mobile-Sprint deal was control. Sprint is owned by Softbank, led by Masayoshi Son. Son considered Sprint to be integral to 5G, Internet of things and Softbank's long-term portfolio strategy.

T-Mobile reportedly makes Sprint a revised offer | SoftBank reportedly calls off T-Mobile and Sprint merger | T-Mobile gains more ground as Sprint merger nears

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said his company can go it alone.

We know we have significant assets, including our rich spectrum holdings, and are accelerating significant investments in our network to ensure our continued growth. As convergence in the connectivity marketplace continues, we believe significant opportunities exist to establish strong partnerships across multiple industries.

Analysts were mixed on whether T-Mobile and Sprint would garner regulatory approval for a merger. Both players are competing fiercely with Verizon and AT&T.

Editorial standards