Mobile Sprint merger may be saved with last minute compromise

T-Mobile US CEO John Legere and his executive team announce Un Carrier 12.0 from the company's Bellevue

T-Mobile US CEO John Legere and his executive team announce Un Carrier 12.0 from the company's Bellevue

The two mobile companies have been dancing around a possible merger for years.

T-Mobile and Sprint - after months of negotiations - have ended their talks on a proposed merger, announcing in a joint statement Saturday that they were "unable to find mutually agreeable terms".

Reports from Japan earlier in the week claimed SoftBank, which owns Sprint, is set to pull the plug on a rumoured merger with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile over a dispute about who would control the combined company. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the offer, said that T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure met on Wednesday, where Legere reiterated that Deutsche Telekom didn't want the deal to fall apart. "However, we have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile's shareholders".

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"While we couldn't reach an agreement to combine our companies, we certainly recognize the benefits of scale through a potential combination".

T-Mobile and Sprint are the third- and fourth-largest USA wireless carriers but they are significantly smaller than AT&T and Verizon, who effectively have a duopoly over United States wireless service.

Both companies had expressed interest in a tie-up this year, and industry analysts expected T-Mobile to have more leverage in discussions this time around.

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The terms of T-Mobile's new offer were unclear, according to the Journal. But Washington regulators have frowned on a possible merger.

Although it has cut its costs, Sprint is saddled with considerable debt and has endured numerous annual losses.

Previous attempts have been made to court T-Mobile, but they appear to have run into trouble with federal overseers.

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T-Mobile has been particularly aggressive - and successful - in challenging its two larger rivals.

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