New York – Sprint and T-Mobile will merge if reports are true that Sprint owner SoftBank will purchase T-Mobile from European telecom company Deutsche Telekom.
Deutsche Telekom owns 67 percent of T-Mobile.
The Kyodo news agency reported that Softbank chairman Masayoshi Son proposed the purchase in mid-May to T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom executives and that the response was positive, Kyodo reported.
Sprint’s purchase of number four carrier T-Mobile would consolidate the cellular industry to three national carriers from four, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has indicated that it would not look favorably on a merger.
Both carriers are currently losing money, though T-Mobile is gaining subscribers while Sprint is losing them. Sprint is the third-largest carrier by subscribers, with T-Mobile fourth but gaining.
T-Mobile’s chief executive recently said he was open to consolidation in the U.S. market.
A Sprint spokesman said the company “does not comment on rumors and speculation.” T-Mobile hasn’t returned calls to verify the report.