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T-Mobile parent mulling Sprint takeover?

updated 05:05 pm EDT, Sat May 3, 2008

T-Mo May Buy Sprint

T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom is seriously considering merging with or taking over Sprint, claims the German national magazine Der Spiegel. A continued weakening of US currency values, combined with worsening results at Sprint, is reportedly leading the European company to investigate transactions that would help T-Mobile USA gain ground in the US market and better compete against AT&T. The opportunity is rare and would cost Deutsche Telekom less than it did to buy VoiceStream in 2001 and assume its role as one of the largest American carriers, according to the report.

There are no formal proceedings in place, say the alleged sources for the transaction, and a deal may not occur. Officials at Deutsche Telekom have declined to comment on "market rumors." Sprint has not commented on the matter.

The alleged insiders have not explained how a technical union of the networks would be completed. While T-Mobile uses the internationally popular GSM standard, Sprint continues to use the chiefly North America-focused CDMA format for its calling and would require that subscribers trade in their handsets for versions compatible with T-Mobile's network.

Any alliance between Sprint and T-Mobile would also instigate a major shift in the balance of cellphone technology. AT&T is the current leader in the US market but is the only other major provider besides T-Mobile that operates on a GSM-based phone network in the country, with Sprint and Verizon collectively supporting many more CDMA subscribers. Carriers smaller than T-Mobile, such as Alltel and US Cellular, also opt for CDMA. A newly enlarged T-Mobile using GSM for every customer would compete very closely with AT&T and would potentially draw customers, as GSM phones can be unlocked much more easily than CDMA devices.

By Electronista Staff


  1. dampeoples

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Jul 2002



    Do what you want, T-Mobile, but please remember us Nextel users, and don't leave us out in the cold

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Not likely...

    If DT (i.e. T-Mobile) does this, more than likely, it will ignore the Nextel users' wishes. The primary goal for Deutsche Telekom would be to consolidate the newly acquired properties on a standard 1900Mhz GSM network. Nextel's iDEN would most likely be abandoned (thus obsoleting all Nextel push-to-talk phones). This would most likely happen even with Sprint's CDMA customers.

    The benefit of it all would be a much larger, GSM-based footprint in the US, as well as an emergence of a worthy competitor to AT&T.

  1. stainless

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Push to Talk can work...

    PTT can work on a gsm network, it is simply that many providers do not offer here is the US. Look at the Nokia N95, it offers PTT but is a GSM phone.

    This is exactly why we need TMobile to purchase Sprint!

    ATT has grown to large and become complacent, not offering the technology that it could. The only reason that the US now has visual voicemail is because of Apple iPhone, not because of ATT wanting to offer it!

    PLEASE Tmobile purchase Sprint!!!

  1. slider

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999


    T-Mobile and iPhone

    Am I correct that T-Mobile is the network that one can use a jail broken iPhone? There is no AT&T here in Vermont, so if I wanted to use an iPhone I'd have to use a jail broken one, not my first choice. We have Verizon, Unicel, and Sprint, so the acquisition of Sprit by T-Mobile might open up the jail break option to me. Though I'd have to seriously have to mull over using this kind of option, it clearly is an acceptable option for many out there.

  1. Commodus

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Feb 2002


    slider: you're right

    The iPhone is based on GSM, and only AT&T and T-Mobile really use it in the States (are there even any minor GSM carriers there?). So yes, that's basically your two choices.

  1. Tins

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007



    An employee working at Alltel says his company is looking to acquire Sprint too. Should probably grab some sprint stock before the bidding wars begin.

  1. scotte75ky

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008



    I feel sorry for Sprint/Nextel users. I carried Nextel for a while, and the service was terrible. The calls would drop each and every time I was on the phone with someone. Anybody that I know with Sprint does nothing but complain. I've had T-Mobile for several years now and their service is great. Anybody with Sprint or Nextel should praise this merger if it happens. You will be better off in the long run.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001



    I like them too... too bad they didn't do the deal with Apple instead of AT+T. I won't consider any non-GSM carrier.

  1. 83caddy16v

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2000


    RE: Sprint

    Nextel was a decent network prior to the Sprint merger. Since then it has not been maintained properly and has degraded.

    It is unfortunate because on 9/11 it was the only service we were able to communicate with in the D.C. area - all the other networks were "try your call again later"

    None of the other carriers have been able to improve their latency to the nearly instantanious Nextel - I was actually in the Reston, VA HQ when they did a Direct Connect to Latin America - pretty neat to hear how quick it was.

    The cultures of Sprint & Nextel have never merged and there have been news reports highlighting the "old school" vs "new school" mentalities.

    Hopefully the Direct Connect/Push-To-Talk technology will be perfected on GSM networks and find its way into a future iPhone - it really is a handy feature, especially when it doesn't count against your monthly minutes.

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