T-Mobile may enter a merger in the United States based on the synergies it has with a potential consolidation partner, as well as the likelihood of those synergies being realized, Deutsche Telekom Chief Financial Officer Thomas Dannenfeldt said during a conference call with analysts earlier today. While T-Mobile, Sprint, and the latter’s parent SoftBank have been publicly commenting on the possibility of merging in recent months, with both sides mostly talking about the benefits of such a scenario, T-Mobile’s majority owner remains somewhat reserved about the deal, with most senior officials of the Bonn, Germany-based telecom giant repeatedly stating that they’re willing to explore all possibilities but without further committing themselves to the idea of merging T-Mobile with Sprint.
Unlike Deutsche Telekom, Sprint and SoftBank have been significantly more proactive in their efforts to explore all consolidation opportunities on the market. The fourth largest mobile service provider in the United States recently concluded two-month negotiations with Comcast and Charter Communications without reaching a deal over a potential wireless partnership that would see the two cable giants take an equity stake in the Overland Park, Kansas-based firm while simultaneously investing in its networking infrastructure and using it to sell mobile plans to their own customers. Charter and Comcast already have an MVNO agreement with Verizon and while Sprint was reportedly willing to offer them more favorable terms, no partnerships have been agreed so far. The exclusive negotiations between the three even resulted in a supposed merger proposal that SoftBank gave to Charter, though the cable firm publicly rejected such a possibility in a swift manner.
Following that turn of events, some industry watchers were speculating that SoftBank didn’t expect Charter to accept its pitch in the first place but was instead only looking to gain more leverage in its upcoming merger talks with T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom that are expected to be continued in the coming weeks. While SoftBank already pondered the idea of consolidating its subsidiary with the Bellevue, Washington-based wireless carrier several years back, it was stopped from doing so by the former Obama administration. Even though the current federal government is more open toward major mergers in the wireless segment, Sprint and T-Mobile are currently performing in a radically different manner than they did in 2014 and Deutsche Telekom is now much more likely to purchase a controlling stake in Sprint instead of selling T-Mobile to SoftBank in a hypothetical merger scenario.