Negotiations have begun for Sprint, the third largest wireless company in the US, to purchase T-Mobile, the fourth largest wireless company, from their parent Deutsche Telekom. The merger is reported to be worth approximately $32 billion, with part being paid in cash and part in stock, a typical option for deals of this size.
Assuming that the FCC approves the deal, Sprint has stated that their plans for T-Mobile would be to phase it out completely, while converting their customers into the Sprint family. The T-Mobile network, which runs on the much faster GSM technology would remain intact, with Sprint converting their handsets to take advantage of the higher speeds necessary for such a large subscriber base and congested network. Combined, Sprint and T-Mobile would have nearly 100 million customers.
“We feel very strongly that there is absolutely no need for T-Mobile to continue on as a company once our purchase is cleared.” Said Dan Hesse, chairman of Sprint Corp. US. “They’ve done some great things for the wireless world in the last year or two, but it’s nothing that we can’t continue without them. If this merger happens, it will definitely be the end for T-Mobile.”
The news that T-Mobile could possibly be closing their doors hit hard for many employees in the company, especially low-ranking retail and call center workers, who just went through a similarly stressful situation a few years ago when AT&T was looking to purchase T-Mobile. That merger was denied by FCC regulators, citing laws against creating a monopoly within the industry.
“It’s extremely disheartening, the idea of them shutting us down.” Said Christopher Pike, a call center employee. “I was here when AT&T came strutting through, and tried to pick us up. It was horrible, stressful. No one knew what was going to happen. This is almost worse, because they’ve already told us that we’re going to be out of a job if this buyout is approved.”
Jon Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, doesn’t seem too worried about keeping a job within the company if the buy-out happens. Legere, who has only been with T-Mobile for the last couple of years, has become an outspoken president, known for his profanity-laced speeches calling out AT&T and Verizon for their “shady” practices and their old-school mentality.
“I always talked about AT&T, Verizon – I rarely ever talked any [expletive] about Sprint, because I knew this was going to happen eventually. It’s no surprise to me. You can’t be #4 in the game forever without #3 knocking on your door. Well, the door is open now, and it’s about time I take off this magenta shirt and start thinking about how I’m going to look in yellow.”
With T-Mobile inevitably on the route to the end, many customers who recently switched from Sprint were delighted that they would be able to go back.
“I switched over to T-Mobile when my contract with Sprint ran out. Needed to try something new, ya know?” Said Alex Winter, a long time Sprint subscriber. “They don’t have contracts, sure, but they suckered me into buying a phone for $750, and with monthly payments, it’s going to take 2 damn years to pay off, so it’s basically the same thing. I can’t leave them without paying an arm and a leg to get rid of this phone, and their service is terrible. I can’t wait to get back with Sprint.”
As of this writing, there were no definite terms completed for the possible buyout, with representatives for Sprint and T-Mobile refusing to comment.