If the U.S. wireless market were a John Hughes ’80s movie, Verizon would be Jake from Sixteen Candles — rich, expensive car, gets what he wants; AT&T would be Andrew from The Breakfast Club — dumb but popular, brutish, secretly just wanting to be loved; T-Mobile would be Duckie from Home Alone — pugnacious, a flashy dresser, occasionally adorably profane; while Sprint would be Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — always seemingly on the verge of failure, barely tolerated, has parents with a lot of money. And now those rich parents think that teaming up their awkward son with plucky T-Mobile will help them both take on the bigger, more handsome competitors.
Reuters reports that Masayoshi Son, CEO of Sprint parent company SoftBank, recently said he still intends to pursue a merger, and that T-Mobile USA is the most likely target.
“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,” said Son.
SoftBank has long dreamed of merging the country’s fourth-place wireless provider with T-Mobile. A merger seemed like a vague possibility in 2014, until Sprint pulled the plug on negotiations when it became evident that U.S. telecoms and antitrust regulators would likely try to block further consolidation in the wireless market.
But things have changed significantly since then, with a new FCC, Attorney General, and White House in place — all of them much more amenable to big-ticket mergers and industry consolidation. SoftBank execs reportedly met with Trump administration officials earlier this year to gauge the White House’s feelings about a possible merger.