He wants a fair fight with Verizon and AT&T

Japan's SoftBank Corp., which owns Sprint Corp., has mentioned its interest in acquiring T-Mobile before. The problem is potential government scrutiny of such a deal, but SoftBank CEO and Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son has confirmed that he's still up for trying. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Son said in a TV interview Monday that Sprint should purchase T-Mobile so that Verizon and AT&T -- the top two carriers in the U.S. -- have solid competition to keep them in check.

"I would like to have the real fight, OK? Not the pseudo fight, the real fight," said Son. 

Son went on to say that he would like to see a deal happen, but recognizes that there are "steps and details" that need to be worked out first. There is currently no formal agreement between Sprint and T-Mobile. 

A December 2013 report from The Wall Street Journal indicated Sprint's interest in T-Mobile, saying that such a deal could be worth more than $20 billion USD

Masayoshi Son [SOURCE: Retuers]

However, such a merger is likely to face tough criticism from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The two killed off AT&T's attempt to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion USD back in 2011, saying the deal could hurt competition in the U.S. wireless industry.  

While SoftBank feels Sprint and T-Mobile are both too small to compete with Verizon or AT&T individually, the number of subscribers could hurt such a merger. T-Mobile currently has 45 million customers, Sprint has around 54 million subscribers, AT&T has 76.2 million subscribers and Verizon Wireless has 96.2 million customers.

Sprint is about midway between T-Mobile and AT&T in subscribers, so it could see some scrutiny for trying to purchase T-Mobile the way AT&T did. 

Also, the potential merger has received criticism because T-Mobile is utilizing its "UnCarrier" strategies to offer better services to customers, such as paying up to $350 in early termination fees (ETFs) and offering free roaming for unlimited international text and data. Some worry that a deal with Sprint would stop T-Mobile from shaking up the industry with better deals. 

Still, Son said Sprint has to "give it a shot."

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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