Last updated: October 15, 2012 - 11:30am
A Softbank-Sprint deal could significantly reshape the competitive landscape of the US telecom industry.
The deal could be worth more than ¥1 trillion ($12.8 billion), potentially giving Sprint the financial wherewithal to do more deals, including acquiring the 51% of Clearwire it doesn't already own.
There are still many questions as to why Softbank would want Sprint, particularly as cross-continental telecom investments tend to come with few cost savings, apart from greater leverage with handset makers.
- One possibility is that Softbank has its eye on the large swaths of spectrum owned by Clearwire.
- Softbank may also have ambitions of eventually playing a role in an attempt by Sprint to consolidate smaller players within the U.S. wireless market.
- A deal with Softbank could strengthen Sprint's balance sheet. That could potentially pave the way for it to try and snatch MetroPCS from T-Mobile and maybe Leap Wireless, or even T-Mobile itself down the line.
- Pulling off such a roll-up would be no easy feat, if indeed that is the goal of either Sprint or Softbank. Were it to happen, though, it could leave Sprint with about 106 million subscribers, slightly more than AT&T, based on second-quarter subscriber numbers. This would give Sprint the spectrum it needs to build a more robust LTE network and the scale to boost margins.
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