SoftBank may actually give control of Sprint to Deutsche Telekom, to merge T-Mobile and Sprint, at least according to a report coming out of Reuters this afternoon. SoftBank had tried to purchase T-Mobile after they picked up Sprint, back in 2014. However, they were told by regulators that this would not happen, and thus they decided to back off and wait for the new administration to take over, which has now happened. However, T-Mobile is now in a much better position than they were nearly three years ago. In fact, Deutsche Telekom isn't even willing to give up control of T-Mobile like they were in 2014. Which has led to some people saying that SoftBank may give up control of Sprint to Deutsche Telekom, which is a bit of an interesting turn of events, to say the least.
Currently, SoftBank owns 83% of Sprint, and they could give a controlling stake of that over to Deutsche Telekom if they were able to make a deal to merge the third and fourth largest carriers in the US. However, SoftBank has not spoken to Deutsche Telekom about a merger since the Incentive Auction is currently ongoing. FCC auction rules state that no merger or acquisition talks can take place during an auction. This could make things unfair for other companies in the auction, so the two will have to wait until after the auction finishes in April. But it's clear that SoftBank is getting a game plan together, especially now that there is a new FCC in place, as well as a new Department of Justice, under President Trump.
Sprint and T-Mobile have both had trouble competing with Verizon and AT&T, and that's largely because Verizon and AT&T are twice the size of both carriers. Making it tougher to compete with them in terms of cash and customers. But Sprint and T-Mobile have made the industry a whole lot more competitive. In fact, they forced AT&T and Verizon to bring back unlimited data, after eliminating it almost five years ago. A combined Sprint and T-Mobile company could spell a lot of trouble for AT&T and Verizon, they would still be third place, but they would have a ton of cash and spectrum at their disposal.