Shares of Sprint and T-Mobile were both higher on the reports.
CNBC reports that Softbank still has goals of a Sprint / T-Mobile merger becoming a valid number three carrier in the USA and it has a novel way of getting it to happen this time: giving control of Sprint to Deutsche Telekom and becoming a minor partner in a new combined network.
Sprint owner SoftBank would be willing to cede control of its mobile carrier to T-Mobile parent Deutche Telekom to help foment a merger of America's Nos.
One of the reasons the tie-up would be notable because neither Sprint nor T-Mobile have been able to crack the top two of the market, led by Verizon and AT&T.More news: Nintendo Switch Digital Purchases Are Tied to an Account
Sprint actually abandoned plans to merge with T-Mobile once before because the FCC was expected to make the deal hard, if at all possible. Since then, T-Mobile in the U.S. has been highly successful in adding more customers to its service, thanks to some very aggressive marketing and many different plan changes and promotions.
What do you think of the idea?
The spectrum auction is expected to end in late March or April. Some may wonder if SoftBank's Vision Fund investment in the US could help smooth a possible merger for Sprint and T-Mobile. In fact, Deutsche Telekom isn't even willing to give up control of T-Mobile like they were in 2014. SoftBank has been unable to lay out a deal in front of Deutsche Telekom because of anti-collusion rules that ban discussions between rival carriers during auctions, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. That deal, however, was batted down once USA antitrust regulators got a whiff of what the combined company would do to competition.
Sprint has found itself stagnating in the USA market, and has watched as T-Mobile leapfrogged it to take over the third-place position. Another factor is the effort to spend money to upgrade cellular networks to the upcoming 5G speeds. In a meeting with then President-elect Trump in early December, SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son pledged to invest $50 billion and create 50,000 jobs in the United States.