When a merger between two or more companies will have a drastic effect on competition, it’s all but expected that the new couple will sell off some of their existing operations to alleviate antitrust concerns. Even though a merger or Sprint and T-Mobile would leave the U.S. with only three national wireless carriers, the two rumored lovebirds are reportedly unwilling to part ways with any assets.
These sort of concessions are often presented as part of the merger when it’s announced, as a way for the companies to say, “We know there are concerns, and we’re being proactive by offering to sell off these handful of things to allay those concerns.”
But Reuters, citing sources close to the matter, reports that Sprint and T-Mobile are planning to go into this merger — which has yet to be announced — without tipping their hand to regulators about what they may eventually be willing to give up if they have to.
“It is better for Sprint and T-Mobile to listen and learn the concerns of regulators first, and see whether there is anything that can be done to address those concerns,” MoffettNathanson research analyst Craig Moffett tells Reuters.
While we can all speculate what T-Mobile and Sprint have in mind when it comes to future divestitures, antitrust regulators can’t start the process of reviewing the merger until it’s actually announced.
Loss Of Spectrum
When (it doesn’t look like there’s any point in playing coy by saying “if”) Sprint and T-Mobile announce their marriage, it’s likely they will tout their combined spectrum and their ability to advance 5G wireless technology.
However, the plethora of spectrum could be one of the first targets of regulators, putting the creation of a 5G network at risk.
Analysts tell Reuters that as it stands a combination of T-Mobile and Sprint would give the companies the most airwaves than both AT&T and Verizon.
This type of divestiture would also be costly for T-Mobile, which paid $8 billion earlier this year in a government auction of airwaves.