Sprint and T-Mobile resumed their merger talks shortly after the former's exclusive negotiating period with Charter Communications and Comcast ended last month, people close to the two companies said on Monday. The Overland Park, Kansas-based mobile service provider is still exploring potential business opportunities with the two cable giants while simultaneously holding talks with T-Mobile, the sources revealed. Both Comcast and Charter already have a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement with Verizon Wireless that they can rely on to fuel their growing ambitions in the wireless segment, though insiders previously claimed that Sprint may be willing to offer more favorable partnership terms to the two companies.
Sprint posted an operating profit for the first time in three years earlier this month, with its consolidated financial report for the second quarter of the year also revealing a number of other positive signs for the wireless carrier that's been struggling to a degree in recent years, having lost the title of the third largest mobile service provider in the United States to T-Mobile in 2015 and increasing its debt since then. Some industry watchers previously speculated that Sprint's business as a whole is too leveraged and that tying up with another company is the best option the firm has for ensuring the sustainability of its operations in the long term. Masayoshi Son, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sprint's parent SoftBank, recently stated that the Japanese conglomerate's subsidiary is doing well enough to be able to maintain its performance independently while noting that consolidation opportunities are still being actively explored by the company.
One such opportunity is merging Sprint with Charter, as recent reports indicated that SoftBank is ready to launch a bid for the second largest cable service provider in the country, though the Stamford, Connecticut-based firm already publicly dismissed such an idea. A number of analysts previously speculated that SoftBank wasn't expecting Charter to accept its offer as much as it was looking to gain additional leverage in its ongoing talks with T-Mobile, presumably by presenting Sprint as a company with a wide variety of merger opportunities in the industry. T-Mobile's parent Deutsche Telekom already signaled that it's open toward a consolidation but its recent comments on the matter implied that it's more interested in buying a partner for T-Mobile than letting its U.S. subsidiary be acquired.