Originally published: November 30, 2011
Last updated: December 21, 2011 - 6:10pm
Instead, T-Mobile could be targeted by plenty of players, from cable and satellite TV providers to private equity firms. But mobile is a different game that can be brutal on newcomers. The companies that are the best fit for T-Mobile are these three players that already know the mobile game:
- Sprint -- Sprint could pick up T-Mobile and operate both networks, integrating the two via LTE. The combined companies would claim about one-fourth of the U.S. mobile market, making the market more competitive — not less.
- America Movil. The Mexico City–based telecom provides services to more than 200 million subscribers primarily in Latin America, and it operates the small prepaid TracFone business in the U.S. The company is headed by Carlos Slim Helu, a Mexican billionaire who has long had an interest in the U.S. Expanding from prepaid to postpaid would be a big step, but Helu has the bankroll and the mobile expertise that could help T-Mobile once again become a major player.
- Vodafone Group. A massive force in worldwide mobile, Vodafone operates networks in 30 countries and has partner networks in 40 more. And while it owns 45 percent of the joint venture Verizon Wireless, it has voiced its dismay at Verizon’s unwillingness to pay annual dividends. Meanwhile, Vodafone’s networks employ the same GSM technology used by T-Mobile USA, and some of them have begun to deploy LTE services. Coming to terms with Verizon to dump its part of the joint venture wouldn’t be easy, but it might be worth it for Vodafone give up its minority stake in Verizon Wireless in exchange for full control of the lesser carrier.
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