updated 09:34 am EDT, Tue March 11, 2014
Deal likely to be halted by US regulators, but effort will be made anyhow
In a television interview with PBS's Charlie Rose, Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son declared that he was interested in buying T-Mobile. Citing "steps and details" that have yet to be negotiated, the executive claimed that he "would like to have the real fight, OK? Not the pseudo fight, the real fight" with competitors AT&T and Verizon.
Sources familiar with the situation claim that Sprint has already sought advice from the industry on how to proceed. Banks have already been contacted for financing arrangements, as well as antitrust authorities queried for potential roadblocks to any such offer.
Son's SoftBank purchased Sprint in 2013, and was met by heavy scrutiny from regulators. Executives from both Sprint and T-Mobile suggested to the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission on February 3 that a deal between the pair would result in better terms for consumers, as well as more competition with the heavy hitters in the US -- AT&T and Verizon.
Son is in Washington, DC to make a presentation to the National Chamber of Commerce, to discuss broadband's role in invention and education, as well as the state of the US wireless industry. His remarks are likely to echo sentiments he espoused in February about the US, when he was quoted as saying that "every time I make a business trip to the US, I am reminded how terrible connections are there" and also decrying the the mobile fee structure in the US.
The executive isn't optimistic about being allowed to pursue the merger, despite Time Warner Cable and Comcast's deal, leading to the pair of cable companies entering the wireless market. Despite the factors weighing against a merger, the executive told Rose in the interview that "we have to give it a shot."