Competent regulators in the United States could approve a potential merger of T-Mobile and Sprint “in a matter of weeks” after the transaction is officially proposed, Barclays analyst Amir Rozwadowski wrote on Monday as part of the bank’s latest note to investors. While industry watchers remain reluctant to provide highly specific predictions regarding the possible outcome of this major consolidation involving two out of the fourth largest mobile service providers in the country, Barclays is seemingly convinced that the timing of the deal could hardly be any better and if such a tie-up is to ever be approved by the federal government, now would be the time to push for it.
As one of the main factors facilitating the hypothetical deal, Barclays mentioned a more relaxed regulatory landscape that’s currently present in the U.S. The Trump administration advocates managing various industries with a light regulatory touch and the wireless segment is no exception to that approach which stands in stark contrast to how the White House tackled the possibility of Sprint and T-Mobile merging under former President Obama. The previous administration effectively stopped SoftBank from bidding for T-Mobile even before the Japanese tech giant and Sprint’s parent seriously explored such an idea, essentially stopping any major consolidations in the wireless industry under its watch. The situation is significantly different several years later, not only in terms of the dominant political climate in the country but also in regards to T-Mobile and Sprint themselves; the two wireless carriers went through numerous changes in recent times and it’s Deutsche Telekom that’s now alleged to be the buying party in a potential deal, with T-Mobile’s parent supposedly being set to control the majority of a consolidated entity should SoftBank agree to a tie-up.
The two have been negotiating over a potential merger for several months now following the end of the FCC’s quiet period mandated by the recently held spectrum auction. According to recent reports, both are relatively close to agreeing to a preliminary deal and could officially announce their intentions to merge as early as this year. Such a transaction would be subject to approval from the U.S. Department of Justice and possibly Federal Trade Commission, neither of which have yet commented on how likely they’d be to approve it.