T-Mobile and Sprint in merger talks

The two underdogs in the US carrier wars, T-Mobile and Sprint, may be joining forces. According to Bloomberg’s “people with knowledge of the matter”, Sprint and Deutsche Telekom have been in talks to make T-Mobile a significant stakeholder in a possible Sprint and T-Mobile merger. According to the sources, which have remained anonymous due to the private nature of the talks, the deal will hinge on an agreement on T-Mobile’s market valuation.

T-Mobile, despite a widely hailed rollout of their “4G” HSDPA+ network, is losing customers and revenue, while Sprint joins the top two networks, AT&T and Verizon, in posting gains.

According to Deutsche Telekom CFO Timotheus Hoettges, an alternative to a Sprint merger would be a possible spectrum purchase from Clearwire Corp., and an outright sale of the company is not in the cards. The company may be struggling, but not so much that would sell itself in entirety. Sprint owns a majority of Clearwire, and buying a significant amount of spectrum would just be another way to create a partnership between the two companies.

It will be interesting how the two companies would manage a merger, seeing as the technologies implemented are very different. Sprint is a CDMA carrier, while T-Mobile uses GSM; Sprint uses a Clearwire implementation of Wimax, while T-Mobile is using HSDPA+ to power its next-gen networks. In such a clash of technologies, the customer could possibly see a big win. The incompatibility between the various carrier technologies has been a barrier to inter-carrier competition, and breaking down those walls could definitely shake things up a bit.

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This is the third year that I have heard rumours of a Sprint / T-Mobile merger or buyout so I guess I will not hold my breath. I continue to tolerate Sprint mainly due to their pricing and secondly since I cannot stand anything that has to do with AT&T.

T-Mobile Europe A+ T-Mobile USA C-. I have had T-Mobile while living in Europe and the service and coverage is very very good to excellent. Upon moving back to USA I have been sadly disappointed in their claimed coverage. I am surrounded with 3G and 4G but I live in a small pocket where I can only get EDGE. I asked several times about coverage where I am now and all times the associates just downright lied to me. I can drive about 10 minutes either way and get the coverage but coming back is just horrible. I call and ask to inquire when they will be upgrading but T-Mobile USA just does the five and dime dance. I really like T-Mobile and they are not just for low income people, that person that stated this is just downright silly. All carriers have their phones/plans and that is it. I for one am getting sick and tired of Android due to the huge amount of Apps. I like a mobile/phone that serves it purpose and can have some extra when I choose to do such like surfing the web and checking emails. I cannot stand Social Networking on a mobile/phone. Just to kid like.

The problem with the USA is that they really did not jump onto the GSM wagon yet, stop fighting it and just upgrade and integrate.

There was a rumor over a year ago that T-Mobile US was being sold off, so this doesn't surprise me at all. A merger with Sprint would be OK, but unproductive (in a sense they'd probably combine the infrastructure and assimilate the brands). That's just not interesting.

WOW!!!! This could literally be a dream come true. Me and a few friends argued the fact and joked that T-Mobile and Sprint should joint forces.

The 2 technologies shouldn't be that much of an issue. Neither company really gets a lot of top teir phones, tho that could be changing as Sprint has about 5 top tier phones now.

What they could do is this:

For the more expensive phones, they could make dual-mode hybrids that have the GSM and CDMA chips so that both carriers can sell an identical phone. Or if T-Mobile joins Sprint and its a single company (Sprint-Mobile anyone) they can just sell the phone as is. GSM would give Sprint a chance to make top tier world phones and they can use CDMA for lower costing phones like features phones or mid-grade smartphones.

Having competeing technologies don't matter anymore. In fact it is better to make a phone as a hybrid which would be cheaper than making 2 of the same phone just to handle a single technology.

Verzion has several hybrid phones. Even the iPhone 4 is a hybrid, but the GSM is turned off.
With more money to negotiate with, they could easily get better phones. Sprint and T-Mobile are pretty much the low income carriers because Verzion and ATT are much more expensive in some cases.

This could be one reason T-Mobile doesn't offer many expensive phones. They are cheap for a reason.

I've had T-Mobile, Verizon, and am currently on Sprint. The best service was definitely Verizon. I almost never had a dropped call. Unfortunately their prices are high and their phone selection was lacking at the time I was with them. I had a blackberry on T-mobile and the service was bad but the customer service was great and their prices were decent. I'm with Sprint now and I have a Samsung Epic 4G. The phone is pure awesomeness. The service is ok but can be spotty in some places. I actually have access to what they call 4G but is actually more like 3.5G with Wimax. The speeds are really really good. The customer service is pretty good and the price is also pretty good. I would consider Sprint to be the happy medium between Verizon and T-Mobile.

@ joshie, you win +2000.

i had t mobile for a brief amount of time, customer service was the best i have ever seen, but due to not being able to get service in my house i canceled. my area was supposed to get great service apparently? but i guess my house was just in a dead spot or something.

When purchasing the MyTouch4G, i was told 4G will be "soon" implemented here in Tri-Cities WA, that's what the store rep said. So like a dumbarse i accepted what he told me and upgraded from the MyTouch4G, only to find out from the support staff that they've no idea when it will be available as far aas my area is concerned, they're still "fixing the 3G here". I did my inquiries, reasearch, etc

I understand that bro but like I was trying to say before when I replied to you, you aren't missing anything while you wait. My G2 - T-Mob's only other '4G' phone, only ever does what my HD2 already did, sitting in this alleged '4G' area. It's simply HSPDA+ which I was already getting with the HD2 - I was expecting some huge speed difference too but it's just not there.

Soulsiphon said,
I understand that bro but like I was trying to say before when I replied to you, you aren't missing anything while you wait. My G2 - T-Mob's only other '4G' phone, only ever does what my HD2 already did, sitting in this alleged '4G' area. It's simply HSPDA+ which I was already getting with the HD2 - I was expecting some huge speed difference too but it's just not there.
I see a huge difference between my hd2 (not hspa+) and my dell streak 7 (21 Mb hspa+). My hd2 will go to about 5-6.5Mbps down while the dell streak goes a lot faster. Around 10-15Mb/s.

Why does everyone hate T-Mobile? Sure the coverage is absolute ass compared to AT&T or Verizon (yeah, I've subscribed to all of them at some point or another - iPhone for years on AT&T) but I've always found their customer service more than accomodating. As a matter of fact, I have ugly 3G/4G(HSPDA+ actually) in my home, called the customer retention # yesterday after being put on to a pilot (read free) in-home repeater trial via XDA forums and within 5 minutes I had a $500+ repeater being shipped to my house, free of charge, with only my feedback required in payment.

I think the problem is that so much value is being placed on customer service. Wireless is a monstrous investment we've all kinda pushed into the depths of our subconscious. We're paying for a wireless provider, so priority one for getting our money's worth is quality wireless service. The willingness of a script-reading phone slave to roll over for a customer only matters if you've somehow gotten yourself into a bad situation and face fees exceeding the value of service.

Amusingly--for me--most of the 'complaints' people hurl at carrier service quality are issues they had every opportunity to learn about before signing a contract. There's such a thing as coverage maps, consumer reports, websites like this one right here for research on phone models, etc. Frankly, I feel like a tech enthusiast has no business whimpering about customer service quality. When you let yourself feel like you ENJOY educating yourself on mobile technology, getting caught up in a situation that could've been avoided by that education screams of Darwinism to me.

Joshie said,
There's such a thing as coverage maps, consumer reports, websites like this one right here for research on phone models, etc. Frankly, I feel like a tech enthusiast has no business whimpering about customer service quality.

T-Mobile's coverage map says I have near-4G service in my home. In reality, there are times when I'm lucky if I have one bar of Edge-level service, like in my kitchen close to a window. I can go other places, like the center of my basement, and get a 3G-level signal. My wife has the same problem, and has a newer SIM than I do (we were told by TMo that a new SIM often remedies the problems). It wasn't always like this - their voice and data coverage, from my observations, actually got WORSE after they upgraded their network in my area. The dead-spots we know about, and have reported to them dozens of times over the past 6 years, got bigger.

AgentGreen said,

T-Mobile's coverage map says I have near-4G service in my home. In reality, there are times when I'm lucky if I have one bar of Edge-level service, like in my kitchen close to a window. I can go other places, like the center of my basement, and get a 3G-level signal. My wife has the same problem, and has a newer SIM than I do (we were told by TMo that a new SIM often remedies the problems). It wasn't always like this - their voice and data coverage, from my observations, actually got WORSE after they upgraded their network in my area. The dead-spots we know about, and have reported to them dozens of times over the past 6 years, got bigger.

That's an insanely valid point, and raises a big problem with the contracts we sign. If we have great service on day one, and it somehow degrades over time, it either needs to be addressed by the network (because poor service zones generally affect more than one customer), or it needs to allow for early termination without a fee.

Frankly, I'm looking forward to a time when subsidized, locked phones disappear and vendors have to start making their hardware compete at MSRP price points (causing them to lower and become more affordable off-contract). The 2-year contract needs to die, and people who buy into GSM networks at full MSRP today are punished more than anything else, because they bear the full weight of the mark-up which is NEVER discounted because off-contract demand is so low.

T-Mobile is losing customers and revenue? Really? Color me surprised. I thought their winning combination of CRAP COVERAGE and STUPID COMMERCIALS would make them number 1 for sure.

Sprint hurt themselves when they bought Nextel then had two networks.... iDEN and CDMA... now if this happens they will have three to support? iDEN CDMA and GSM? talk about a network admins worst nightmare

jwoodfin09 said,

Actually this isn't entirely true, apparently this was taken out of context and twisted to make it sound like that.

“Sprint is going to be decommissioning redundant towers, this is across the board, both iDEN and CDMA. Towers that currently are very close together may have one of them go away to save on leasing and maintenance costs. The remaining towers if needed will have the output power increased to fill coverage gapds that may be formed by a redundant tower. New hardware will be implemented so a tower can operate CDMA, iDEN, WiMax, LTE or multiple formats with little more than a software change. Part of this process is a complete overhaul of the network implementing 1x-Advanced for the CDMA network to make it more efficient and cost effective.”

Also I just saw a press-release letter from last year stating that they have invested billions of dollars in the iDEN network, and they say “state clearly and unequivocally that we are committed to Nextel Direct Connect, now and going forward”. They have 12 million subscribers on the Nextel units which equals $600 million in revenue just on the plan charges.

Also they've no plans on implementing 4G coverage here in SE Washington, but have done so in Spokane and Seattle...sucks because i upgraded to the MyTouch4G

It's not really 4G though. My G2 (here in Spokane) most always shows "H" but that's about the only difference from my 3G HD2 which showed "H" when transferring data. Better yet its only HSPDA+ so not even real 4G. Don't even get me started that as a "4G city" I barely see that "H" when out and about town. Usually Edge lol

My point? Don't feel bad

As long as T-Mo stays GSM and has better prices they can merge away. Any sign of them switching to that archaic CDMA tech and im off to at&t, despite the higher prices. I will NEVER be held hostage by my carrier like Sprint and Verizon do, with no way to use the phone I want. DODGY!!!

I still have Sprint service here and I am very happy with it.

My question regarding this is which companies name will stick here - I'm willing to bet it'll be Sprint.

este said,

My question regarding this is which companies name will stick here - I'm willing to bet it'll be Sprint.

I have Sprint and I hope the name sticks. T Mobile sounds really ghetto.

Tmobile coverage sucks here, average wait time to speak to cust serv, is 45minutes, yup you read that correctly, i've better luck via chat session reaching a rep. 5gb data throttle is lame. I'm so ready to cut my contract with them.

vincent said,
Tmobile coverage sucks here, average wait time to speak to cust serv, is 45minutes, yup you read that correctly, i've better luck via chat session reaching a rep. 5gb data throttle is lame. I'm so ready to cut my contract with them.

I've been with them for 7yrs and back in say 2005 or so CS was great, wait time was a few minutes if that and the reps were nice. Now if you call it's 30-45 minutes wait, rude reps and yea you're better off to go online and wait to talk to someone via chat. I guess times are tough so they one awesome thing they had, they took a dump on it.

vincent said,
Tmobile coverage sucks here, average wait time to speak to cust serv, is 45minutes, yup you read that correctly, i've better luck via chat session reaching a rep. 5gb data throttle is lame. I'm so ready to cut my contract with them.

If you think 5gb is lame, at least it's better than Vz and AT&T with their 2gb limits that cost more.

vincent said,
Tmobile coverage sucks here, average wait time to speak to cust serv, is 45minutes, yup you read that correctly, i've better luck via chat session reaching a rep. 5gb data throttle is lame. I'm so ready to cut my contract with them.

I've had excellent customer service during the years I have been with T-Mo. it's the only reason I stay with them. Every time I have had to call for one thing or another, the rep was very friendly (more like a friend than a customer service rep), professional, and truly seemed to have an interest in doing what was best for me. These people seem to appreciate their jobs. I always get to speak with someone in this country, too, which is a nice plus.

techbeck said,
I sure as hell hope not. I like T-Mobiles pricing and I am sure it will change and get screwed if they join Sprint.

The two carriers price competitively against each other. What configuration do you have with T-Mobile that is more attractive than Sprint?

Genuinely curious, since I did a lot of price shopping two years back before I ditched at&t. Sprint seemed on par with T-Mobile at the bottom line, and let me have unlimited calling to any mobile on any carrier. The only downside seemed to be coverage and lack of GSM, and T-Mobile only solves one of those problems.

techbeck said,
I sure as hell hope not. I like T-Mobiles pricing and I am sure it will change and get screwed if they join Sprint.
Sprint has some of the most competitive pricing around, both under their own brand and the prepaid service they sell (Virgin Mobile & Boost are both owned by Sprint)...

nullie said,
Sprint has some of the most competitive pricing around, both under their own brand and the prepaid service they sell (Virgin Mobile & Boost are both owned by Sprint)...

Very true. Right now I'm looking at the Virgin Moblie $25 a month plan with 300 minutes and unlimited data and texts, along with the LG Optimus V. I currently have a prepaid phone with Net10 and am spending $20 a month anyway and never going over 200-250 minutes a month. An extra $5 a month for unlimited data on a smartphone (instead of the feature phone I have now) is almost a no-brainer.

T-Mobile (3G coverage) sucks in The Netherlands, and I was forced onto it as an Orange customer when they merged (service got worse) now I'm moving to Vodafone on April 4 after having to sit out a 3 month wait to terminate the contract.

Neobond said,
T-Mobile (3G coverage) sucks in The Netherlands

T-Mobile in Europe is almost a totally different company than T-Mobile here in the US.

Yeah, technical challenges aside, they would have a LOT of work cut out for them with a merger since they both already have competing prepaid services and very different policies for data plans, etc. My current Tracfone prepaid phone actually runs on the T-Mobile network here (although the two are otherwise unrelated), and I was thinking of switching to a Virgin Mobile prepaid Android phone (the Optimus V), which runs on the Sprint network. Should be interesting to see how this proposed merger shapes up.

I'm becoming more and more unhappy with T-Mobile. Lack of updates to phones (yes, I know it's not 100% on their end but still) and just the lack of decent phones and coverage sucks...

I'm honestly thinking of cutting my contract and joining Verizon. I tried Sprint, I think they're even worse than T-Mobile but that's my opinion...

presence06 said,
I'm becoming more and more unhappy with T-Mobile. Lack of updates to phones (yes, I know it's not 100% on their end but still) and just the lack of decent phones and coverage sucks...

I'm honestly thinking of cutting my contract and joining Verizon. I tried Sprint, I think they're even worse than T-Mobile but that's my opinion...

Because you don't understand the reason T-Mobile exists. They are a low cost carrier liek Sprint for those who just basically need a very nice phone thay can afford, without paying the ATT and verzion high cost to have them.

T-Mobile doesn't negotiate for fancier phones, because that means they would have to spend MORE money to get them. Thus driving up YOUR cost to get them. Many of T-Mobile's devices are below the $200 mark and for those with low income, is priced just right.

If you can afford a better phone, why are you with T-Mobile? To compalin they don't sell top tier phones is just crazy. if you want a BETTER phone, go to a BETTER carrier.

presence06 said,
I'm becoming more and more unhappy with T-Mobile. Lack of updates to phones (yes, I know it's not 100% on their end but still) and just the lack of decent phones and coverage sucks...

I'm honestly thinking of cutting my contract and joining Verizon. I tried Sprint, I think they're even worse than T-Mobile but that's my opinion...

Funny cause I just left Verizon in Dec because they typically don't have any exciting phones (that I want) and I got a Dell Venue Pro with T-Mobile. Haven't had any issues with coverage yet.

presence06 said,
I'm becoming more and more unhappy with T-Mobile. Lack of updates to phones (yes, I know it's not 100% on their end but still) and just the lack of decent phones and coverage sucks...

I'm honestly thinking of cutting my contract and joining Verizon. I tried Sprint, I think they're even worse than T-Mobile but that's my opinion...

I am very confused where you are getting crappy coverage? I live in the boonies and the best carrier in my area is Verizon and T-Mobile hands down. I have never had an issue with T-Mobile....and that's coming from a person who has had Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. Good luck switching in any event.