After years of unfruitful, back-and-forth negotiations and multiple failed attempts, T-Mobile and Sprint back in April announced their agreement on terms for a tentative takeover deal which, if approved by the requisite entities, would combine their wireless networks (currently America’s third- and fourth-largest, respectively) into one.
While there are some major pros and cons to this mega-merger going down, worth noting is that nothing is set in stone just yet — and there are still a number of high-level government agency and regulatory clearances standing in the way of their wireless matrimony.
One Step Closer
Fortunately, this week the two carriers received some good news courtesy of the United States Committee on Foreign Investment, also known as Cfius, who according to a report from The Wall Street Journal unanimously approved T-Mobile’s planned takeover of Sprint.
“The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or Cfius, told the companies Monday that it had cleared the union of the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers by subscribers after several months of negotiations with company representatives,” the WSJ wrote.
Cfius is responsible for reviewing foreign deals like this for the possibility of negative national security implications, which is a pretty big deal since Sprint is primarily owned by Japanese telecom-giant, SoftBank Group — and T-Mobile U.S. is mostly owned by its majority shareholder and parent-company, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG.
Deal or No Deal?
According to previous reports, a T-Mobile acquisition of Sprint would require no significant changes to either of their current operations in the U.S. — although further investment from Softbank and Deutsche Telecom in their new, joint infrastructure will likely be necessary.
The newly combined mega-carrier, with nearly 100 million monthly subscribers in the U.S., will reportedly retain T-Mobile as its official name, with current T-Mobile U.S. boss, John Legere, serving as Chief Executive Officer of the new firm.
Unfortunately, while this week’s Cfius approval means T-Mobile is yet one step closer to officially acquiring Sprint, the deal still needs to be approved by other major government agencies including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Justice Department (DoJ) — two wild-cards, especially in light of their recent decisions and seemingly spontaneous flip-flopping on other recent mega-merger proposals.
Still, barring any further complications or significant setbacks, T-Mobile executives remain hopeful that these approvals will ultimately be all wrapped-up — and the merger deal officially green-lighted — by the second half of 2019.