Any gadget enthusiast is inherently tied to the wireless internet providers. Until we manage to build hand held devices with the capacity to globally interconnect on their own, we depend on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and the like. How they organize to provide Internet connections and how the FCC regulates are intricate stories. Right now, the focus is on a potential Sprint T-Mobile joint bid for FCC’s next year’s auction.
While AT&T and Verizon are the largest telecom companies in the U.S., Sprint and T-Mobile come the third and fourth. To cover such a large national space, carriers need large amounts of funding. Sprint and T-Mobile were allegedly discussing a potential merger, arguing that with their forces combined, they could offer better services and wider coverage. To do so, Sprint and T-Mobile hoped to gain a massive advantage in the near future.
The FCC announced that in 2015 it will hold an auction for low spectrum frequencies. These frequencies are crucial for mobile operators wanting to offer faster internet data speeds. Sprint and T-Mobile wanted to prepare a common bid for the auction and prove to the regulators they have serious intentions about the merger.
Sprint T-Mobile joint bid is not going to happen
For FCC, the idea of a merger between two national mobile carriers would be a painfully complicated operation from a bureaucratic point of view. Or it would have been, because the merger does not stand a chance to gain approval. The commission’s telecom bureau chef made an announcement on Friday that dismisses the idea of a merger between the two operators.
“Our goal is to promote the participation of as many parties as possible in the auction. If two of the largest companies are able to bid as one combined entity in the auction, their combined resources may have the effect of suppressing meaningful competition,” Roger C. Sherman, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief stated in a blog post. “Therefore, the item tentatively concludes that joint bidding arrangements between nationwide providers should not be allowed.”
Although not stating specifically, Sherman clearly refers to the potential Sprint Sprint T-Mobile joint bid. Maybe Sprint will be disappointed, but T-Mobile is doing quite well. Iliad, a relatively young French telecom company, announced last week an interest in acquiring T-Mobile. Without competition from Sprint, Iliad might now stand a real chance to enter the acquisition process.